Mumbai Skywalk audit: Vikhroli, Sion walkway is barely used and becomes a home to beggars

Updated: 13 December, 2017 10:50 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

While Vikhroli skywalk with its many bumps, holes, filth and beggars is fast losing public vote, Sion's is built such that it serves only students from a school near the station

Vikhroli West
Given the footfall Vikhroli station sees, this 500-600-metre skywalk in the west, which starts on LBS Marg and winds its way further via the station road, is an important one and a boon for pedestrians and commuters during peak hours. It too, however, suffers from the malaise of lack of maintenance.

Damaged floor
Damaged floor

During mid-day's visit a few days back, we found that the arm leading to LBS Marg was full of broken tiles, which, in fact, adorn the whole skywalk in several places. The same arm also has a 50-odd-metre steep slope, causing much inconvenience to senior citizens.

Ads on view cutters at Vikhroli skywalk
Ads on view cutters at Vikhroli skywalk

During its construction, those staying in the vicinity had demanded that the authorities install view cutters on the skywalk as it passed close to their buildings. While authorities did the needful, these view cutters are now being used to paste ads, giving the skywalk an untidy look. Paan stains and other filth add to the lack of hygiene and cleanliness, and beggars flock there at night to sleep.

A local, Jyoti Sangar Bhalerao, said, "The skywalk is in a pathetic state; authorities have wasted public money on it. Some skywalks are useful, but most have become a resting point for beggars. I don't walk on it because I don't feel safe."

This one was built for the schoolchildren, which is, of course, good; but a little better planning and it would have served other pedestrians and commuters as well. As much as Rs 15.21 crore was spent on the skywalk here, which barely sees anyone other than students of the nearby school, who take it to avoid the traffic on the road below.

The skywalk in Sion is only serving schoolchildren, because of its limited connectivity. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
The skywalk in Sion is only serving schoolchildren, because of its limited connectivity. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

In 2008, the Parent-Teacher Association of Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC) High School had held a meeting, and more than 300 parents had carried out a signature campaign, demanding a skywalk in Sion to give their children a safe place to walk on, considering the rising volume of traffic at the signal junction near the school and station.

While the MMRDA obliged, opening the first arm (260-metre long) in December 2010, it has failed to keep it spick and span and up to the mark. Its flooring, just like the other skywalks, is damaged, and overall maintenance is extremely poor. mid-day found that one arm is connected to the OLGC school gate and is only opened during school hours.

Also, considering that its only users are children, a private security guard has been posted on it. Milind Sanaye, a local, said, "The skywalk needs to be maintained. It serves children well, which is good, but other pedestrians prefer walking on the road below, because any which way, those needing to cross Dr Ambedkar road have to do so by climbing down as the skywalk doesn't give access to that side. So, for a majority, it's not helpful at all."

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Niggling issues
>> Tiles are broken in many places on both skywalks, and paan stains dot almost every corner.
>> Illegal stickers and ads stuck on view cutters on Vikhroli skywalk give it a cluttered and untidy look.
>> A steep 50-metre slope on the arm connecting station road with LBS Marg makes it difficult for senior citizens to walk there.
>> Pedestrians wanting to cross Dr Ambedkar road near Sion Circle don't take the skywalk as it ends at the junction with no access to that side.

Aug' 09
Month work started on both skywalks

Jan' 11
Month work was completed on Sion skywalk

Oct' 11
Month work was completed on Vikhroli skywalk

Rs 9.85 cr
Cost at which Vikhroli skywalk was built

Rs 15.21 cr
Cost at which Sion skywalk was built

First Published: 13 December, 2017 10:46 IST

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