Thane skywalk occupied by hawkers and lovers, lacks space for commuters

Updated: Dec 18, 2017, 14:29 IST | Faisal Tandel

The skywalk in Thane is fast losing space to accommodate the foot that falls on it with a majority of the space taken up by romancing youngsters and hawkers

The skywalk in the central (in more ways than one) city of Thane originates in the east with arms in the west that connect to the SATIS (Station Area Traffic Improvement Scheme), where commuters flock for Thane Municipal Transport buses.

Squatters and hawkers on Thane skywalk cause a lot of inconvenience to pedestrians. Pics/Sameer Markande
Squatters and hawkers on Thane skywalk cause a lot of inconvenience to pedestrians. Pics/Sameer Markande

If you've seen the crowd spilling out of Thane station at any time of the day and any day of the week, it should give you an idea how necessary and important a skywalk is in the area for the lakhs of commuters and pedestrians. But instead of those for whom it's made making the most of it, it's the bold and the desperate who seem to have staked first claim on it, occupying and encroaching space, leaving little for citizens.

Thane skywalk

Who's it for anyway?
Most Central Railway commuters use the skywalk to either go to SATIS for taking a bus or to reach the share autorickshaws. And it goes without saying that it's a daily battle for them.

The arms of the skywalk in the west go towards Gokhale Road and the ST bus depot. While the former has become the unofficial lovers' point, the latter is littered with hawkers, who are comfortable treating the place as their home, leaving their carts and other belongings there at night, blocking space.

The condition of the portion in the east, which connects to Kopri and some market areas, is even worse - enter anti-social elements and beggars, spread out audaciously on nearly half of the area, forcing commuters to push their way through a restricted walkway. There is no guard or watchman posted to shoo such people away. And as if their presence isn't enough to up the danger quotient, non-functional lights add to it.

Under a dark cover
Women have already started avoiding taking the skywalk at night, not just because of the above-mentioned groups of people, but also because a full-fledged flesh trade starts there under cover of the dark — sex workers get up there to solicit customers, and this carries on well into the night, day after day, with no one taking action to stop all the nefarious activities. The general air of filth there with faeces, urine and tobacco and paan stains, besides other waste, as well as messy and broken tiles, adds to pedestrians' feeling of distaste.

Local take

Aatish Dalvi, a resident of Kopri
'This one has been an utter waste of money; it's freakishly scary to use it at night, but women even try to avoid it during the day because of beggars and hawkers. Was this built for commuters' convenience or to facilitate this sort of nuisance? Filthy and not maintained at all, during monsoon, it takes a worse look; people don't feel like walking on it'.

Madhura Gade, a resident of Thane
'Using the skywalk at night is putting yourself in danger, you never know what will happen. I prefer the roads to reach my destination, no matter how choked they are with vehicles; even that is less risky than the skywalk. There is no security up there, and if you were to question the authorities about it, the jurisdiction argument will be thrown in your face - whether it comes under the railways or the city police'

2008
Year the foundation stone was laid

May 2011
Month it was opened for the public

Rs 40.66 cr
Cost at which it was built

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