Mumbai skywalk audit: Kalyan's walkway turns into hawker, druggie den

Updated: 19 December, 2017 16:52 IST | Faisal Tandel | Mumbai

Locals slam authorities for letting the skywalk go to dogs from Day 1 with zero maintenance and no patrolling being done, putting pedestrians at risk from anti-social elements

Kalyan is a busy junction for local trains as well as outstation ones, seeing lakhs of passengers daily in both these sections. This just means that the number of people inconvenienced because of the pathetic state of the skywalk here also runs into lakhs. While the skywalk provides east-west connectivity with arms in both directions, the east, say residents, is hell and the west just a notch up.

Hawkers are a nuisance and broken flooring a hazard on Kalyan skywalk. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Hawkers are a nuisance and broken flooring a hazard on Kalyan skywalk. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

Not for walking
Pockets of the arms in the east turning into hideouts for drug addicts, who can be found on the skywalk at all times of the day, have put a big question mark on the safety and security of commuters and pedestrians. Perhaps, in exchange as a small mercy, the portion in the west is better and helpful for commuters to reach Shivaji Chowk and other corners of the city that are almost a kilometre away from the station.

Kalyan skywalk
Kalyan skywalk

But that's where the merit ends. While hawkers found squatting all over the skywalk are a menace, particularly during peak hours, those thronging to buy from them are equally to blame, as they not only encourage them, but also lead to crowding.

The other risks
When mid-day visited the skywalk, we found a queue of hawkers next to each other on the skywalk going about their business with no guard or watchman present to keep things in check.

And then, there are the non-human dangers - broken flooring and staircases - that pose a risk to people rushing about to reach their destinations. Portions of the safety railings on both sides are missing, leaving huge open gaps and making it unsafe for all, particularly children, who can fall down through them. Overall, with respect to maintenance, the skywalk has lost all credibility.

Local take

Azam Shaikh, a social activist
'This one was built for addicts and beggars, because it serves them better than pedestrians. I remember an incident from winter of 2012 - a few druggies took shelter on the skywalk for some warmth, during which they damaged portions of it, which injured them as well. But that hasn't discouraged these people from squatting there'

Dr Rupinder K Murjani, a resident
'The skywalk is dangerous for women - hawkers and drug addicts are crawling all over it. I had complained to the stationmaster, the Railway Police Force as well as other authorities to start patrolling on it. But nothing has been done. Prostitution too is carried out on it, making it very unsafe for citizens'

Nov 2008
Month work was started on the skywalk

Apr 2012
Month work was completed

Rs 63.14 cr
Cost at which the skywalk was built

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First Published: 19 December, 2017 14:04 IST

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