60-step climb makes Rs 43-crore South Mumbai skywalk useless
Two days Grant Road skywalk's inauguration, both escalators came to a halt, as rats chewed off wire in one, and petals were stuffed in another, forcing people to trudge up and down 113 stairs
The newly inaugurated skywalk at Grant Road has caused a furore among senior citizens, who blame the authorities for not keeping their comfort in mind while building the structure.
There are 53 steps on the Javji Dadaji Marg end and 60 towards the exit at August Kranti Marg this means one has to climb and descend 113 steps in all. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
The elderly are complaining that despite the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) spending a whopping Rs 43.12 crore on the skywalk, only two escalators have been provided both of which weren’t working till the evening yesterday.
Both escalators had stopped working on Friday, and people are seen taking shelter on the Grant Road skywalk. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
The spanking new structure, which opened on Wednesday and connects Nana Chowk to Grant Road station, has only two escalators and both were not in service yesterday.
Speaking to mid-day, A M Desai (92) said, “The most important reason for many elderly people avoiding this skywalk is that going up the steps and coming down is a really difficult task. More escalators are needed.”
There are 53 steps on the Javji Dadaji Marg end and 60 towards the exit at August Kranti Marg this means one has to climb and descend 113 steps in all to make the journey, which is an arduous task, especially for the elderly.
Both the escalators were working when the unique oval structure was inaugurated a couple of days ago, but yesterday, neither was functional. When asked about the same, a technician at the spot explained, “Both the escalators were working after the inauguration, but they stopped working yesterday.
Children stuffed flower petals in one of the escalators, causing it to halt. In the escalator near New Heroes restaurant, a rat chewed off the electric wire. One escalator will start today (Friday) itself and the other will start tomorrow.” Another strange problem the escalators have is that they stop working if three people stand on the same step.
This happens because of a sensor installed in the escalators, the technician added. Citizens are also miffed that the escalators run only between 9 am and 7 pm. Any senior person who wishes to use the skywalk beyond these hours will have to make the steep climb, or risk crossing the road in the midst of heavy traffic.
Basanti Pardesi, another senior citizen, added, “Auth-orities should have ensured that there are less steps. Heart patients and those with joint pain cannot climb this many. And what is the use if escalators stop working after 7 pm?
What is the use of spending crores if we still have to risk our lives and cross the road?” What is also worrying is that the structure was unguarded on Friday no security guard was keeping watch or guiding people. mid-day also noticed beggars sleeping on the skywalk.
MSRDC Executive Engineer Anita Pardeshi said, “The two escalators were not working as there was a technical issue. But one of the escalators started working after it was repaired.” Pardeshi was unaware that the escalators were shut after 7 pm. “I will have to check why this is done. If we keep them operational till late night, children will come there to play,” she said.
About the skywalk
>> The 585-metre Grant Road skywalk connecting Nana Chowk with Grant Road station was thrown open for the public on Wednesday by MSRDC Minister Jaydatta Kshirsagar.
>> Its construction began in December 2008 and it was expected to be complete June 2009
>> The skywalk connects Tardeo, Kemps Corner, Lamington Road, Girgaum Chowpatty and Opera House.
>> According to MSRDC officials, the skywalk was estimated to cost R50.4 crore, but it was completed in Rs 43.12 crore.
(From left) Farida Sethna, A M Desai, Basanti Pardesi and Bipin Nadkarni
Farida Sethna (60)
One has to climb more than 50 steps to use the skywalk, which is a very difficult task. The authorities should have properly planned the skywalk so that the elderly are not inconvenienced
A M Desai (92)
There should be a security guard near the skywalk to ensure our safety.
Basanti Pardesi (60)
What is the use if the escalator shuts after 7 pm? What will senior citizens like me do? We have to risk our lives and cross the road.
When I see the number of steps that one has to climb to use the skywalk, I wonder who will actually use it. I think there should be escalators at all skywalks, so that people can climb easily. I found that there are hardly any pedestrians using this skywalk. Only those coming from Grant Road railway station use it, but those going from Nana Chowk to the station avoid doing so as they don't want to climb 60 steps.
-- Filmmaker Bipin Nadkarni, who stays in Tardeo
9am to 7pm
The duration for which the escalators will be working, once they start to function