Mumbai's costliest skywalk at Rs 50 crore is squatters' home
While Grant Road skywalk, once a lesman's delight, is a mess and a menace, courtesy, encroachers, hawkers and those gathering for a high, the small one at Charni Road with barely any connectivity is insufficient for commuters
Grant Road got the costliest and fanciest skywalks of all - you must remember those wallpaper-worthy pictures after it was opened. Enter 2017, and it is now a menace for residents and pedestrians.
Squatters on the Grant Road skywalk, taking up space and even putting their clothes out to dry, are discouraging people from using it
Constructed at a cost of Rs 50.40 crore in 2013, it's the only skywalk in city with escalators, but that doesn't mean they work. Senior citizens, in particular, are not keen on using it because of that.
As for the rest, there are other deterrents: in the absence of guards, hawkers, squatters and people gathering to drink there at night have made it unsafe. Pedestrians have complained that after sundown, tubelights either flicker and blink or don't work at all, with some nights plunged in complete darkness.
When mid-day paid a visit, we saw encroachers doing what they do best - making themselves at home! Several had put up their clothes and blankets on the safety railings to dry. Besides this, the condition of the skywalk is on a downward spiral, courtesy accumulating garbage at the entrance of the staircase that led to the arm connecting the railway foot overbridge (FOB).
While the eastern side of the skywalk is clean and directly connected with the FOB, hawkers flocking there in the evenings have been causing inconvenience to pedestrians.
Short with limited connectivity, Charni Road skywalk is in a bad shape. Pics/Bipin Kokate
There's a small skywalk here, running for less than 50 metres, which connects to Saifee Hospital and lands towards Opera House. It has been proving to be inadequate for commuters after the demolition of two FOBs a while back. Another issue here on the west side is the lack of connectivity, which forces citizens to walk on platforms to exit the station. While in the west, there's Girgaum Chowpatty, there's no skywalk or FOB for commuters to get to the Chowpatty directly.
Milind Karekar, Girgaum resident
'The skywalk is filled with squatters most of the time. There is no guard, giving a free rein to anti-socials, who gather there after dark to drink and create nuisance. The skywalk has become more of a problem than help'.
A resident, Grant Road
'It has become unsafe for women because of the people gathering to drink there. It's forcing people to avoid it, while the non-functional escalators discourage the elderly. What's the point of installing facilities if they are not going to work? It is the costliest skywalk in the city but hardly useful for citizens'.
Jeetendra Ghadge, Charni Road resident
'Authorities should first build an east-west connection with the skywalk. Also, two bridges that have been shut must be repaired at the earliest and reopened for the public. The existing skywalk is short but important for pedestrians; authorities should ensure that squatters don't block it'.
Month work started on the Grant Road skywalk
Month work finished on it
Rs 50.40 cr
Cost at which it was built
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