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Two people die, as CIDCO refuses to open skywalk without CM unveiling it

Pedestrians fall prey to road mishaps frequently, but they don’t have to. Often the apathy of government agencies plays a part. For instance, the 1.6-kilometre-long skywalk in Kharghar has been ready since May. However, citizens cannot set foot on the facility as City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) insists the chief minister unveils it. But, the finalisation of dates has not happened so far.

The skywalk over Sion-Panvel highway at Kharghar
Ready or not? The skywalk over Sion-Panvel highway at Kharghar

Meanwhile, since August 31, two people have lost their lives and two others suffered grievous injuries on the stretch between Belpada bus stop and Kharghar flyover, where pedestrians cross the Sion-Panvel highway. Had the skywalk been open for public use, these mishaps could have been avoided.

Incidentally, inauguration of a golf course — another key project in Kharghar — has been kept on the back burner for the last eight months, though its development was realised in February.

At present, pedestrians have to cross Sion-Panvel highway in order to reach Kharghar railway station. However, the thoroughfare bears fast-moving traffic all the time, which poses great risk to lives of those traversing across the highway on foot. As per Kharghar police data, seven people have lost their lives and eleven have been injured in eighteen accidents on the Belpada stop-Kharghar flyover section of the turnpike in the last 10 months. Bearing this in mind, CIDCO had started construction of the skywalk in February 2010. According to corporation sources, the structure was almost ready in May this year and could have been thrown open to people the same month.

“Around a year ago, we had expedited development of the skywalk to ensure its completion before monsoon in 2012. We finished everything in May with just the electrification work incomplete. However, pedestrian movement would not have been affected by this,” said a CIDCO official, who did not wish to be named, as he is not authorised to speak to the media. The corporation incurred expenses of around Rs 34 crore for the project.

As per the official reaction of CIDCO representatives, construction of the skywalk was completed in August. Even going by this version, pedestrians should have been able to start using it in September.

Mohan Ninawe, public relations officer of CIDCO, said, “My information is that erection of the Kharghar skywalk concluded in August. We want the CM to inaugurate the project, and that’s why people are not yet allowed to use it. However, we have not received any response from the CM’s office so far. Consequently, I cannot say precisely when the unveiling will take place.”

When contacted, Prithviraj Chavan’s chief PRO Satish Lalit said, “I have apprised the CM of the issue and he has promised to look into the matter.”

Voices
It seems CIDCO has become insensitive towards people, and is more concerned about an inauguration by the CM. If the corporation does not open the skywalk in fifteen days, we will hold a morcha and will unveil the structure ourselves.
— Ravi Shrivastava, IAC coordinator of Navi Mumbai

We have met CIDCO officials on several occasions and have requested the opening of the skywalk as soon as possible. But our requests have always fallen on deaf ears.
— Sunil Sawardekar, an activist from Kharghar

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