Mumbai skywalk audit: Virar walkway is not directly connected to the station
The Virar skywalk here doesn’t have a direct connection to the station and lacks east-west connectivity, pretty much the point why these things are built
One wonders what the authorities were smoking when they constructed the skywalk in Virar - running a whole kilometre in length and yet having no direct connection to the station. The nearest arm to the station ends at least 200 metres away from it.
In the east
Pedestrians are forced to get down either near the bus depot of Virar-Vasai Municipal Corporation or opposite Vaidya's Classes. From there on, there's only a railway foot overbridge to reach either side of the station, a major inconvenience during peak hours.
Though the work to connect the skywalk from east to west is starting, it will take at least six months to complete. The entry-exit points of the four arms this side are all encroached. In several places, tiles are broken and jut out. On the bus depot arm, there are big holes in joints where children's legs can get trapped.
Plastic litter and liquor in bottles, squatters
The skywalk serves beggars, hawkers and anti-socials well, with the latter found consuming alcohol there even during the day and littering the place with bottles. They also urinate and excrete over there.
Lack of cleanliness and maintenance is a big issue this side of the skywalk too - paan stains and plastic litter in abundance, but iron rods of safety railings and floor tiles missing or broken. The only difference, and perhaps a small mercy, being that this side sees considerably less footfalls than the eastern one. Because there aren't many pedestrians here and it's slightly secluded, lovebirds and college gangs make the most of it, using it as a hangout in the afternoons.
Are some of the problems plaguing the skywalk in Virar
A local said, "No criminal activity as such has taken place yet, but are we waiting for it? The need of the hour is not only to maintain the skywalk, but also to deploy security guards who can drive the beggars and couples away. It's because of youngsters engaging in obscene acts on the skywalk that we can't keep our windows open, as we are right next door and can see everything." mid-day also found that there were illegal banners installed on the landing arm of the skywalk at one spot here.
Total length of the Virar skywalk (east and west)
Rs 11.13 crore
Cost at which the eastern side of the skywalk was built
Rs 20.29 crore
Cost at which the western side of the skywalk was built
Vimal Joshi, Virar resident
'The missing east to west connectivity leads to chaos among commuters. Also, uncouth people bring their dogs on the skywalk to give the animals a place to defecate, and beggars too urinate there. Is it the place for such things? There need to be guards posted here to stop such activities'
Naleen Mehta, Virar resident
'Constructing the skywalk was a good move; it helps the pedestrians to avoid the busy road underneath. But it's not being maintained, especially the western side. And the reason is because it is not directly connected to the FOB on platform 2. The railway FOB connecting the western arm is expected to open soon, but before that, authorities need to clear the skywalk of beggars'
Residents have alleged of nuisance by lovebirds gathering there during the afternoon and engaging in obscene acts. Squatting by beggars and anti-social elements is soiling the place, with them littering and defecating on the skywalk.
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