Heritage activists launch protest against skywalk

Heritage conservationists and activists are up in arms against the authorities to scrap the extension of the proposed skywalk from CST to Churchgate and have begun asking residents of the fort area to oppose the project as it would leave a deep scar on the city’s most preserved heritage.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published:March 3, 2009 5:37 am

Heritage conservationists and activists are up in arms against the authorities to scrap the extension of the proposed skywalk from CST to Churchgate and have begun asking residents of the fort area to oppose the project as it would leave a deep scar on the city’s most preserved heritage.

Stating that the fort precinct is the best living model with the dedicated pedestarian routes through building corridors,large maidans and wider footpaths,activists have ruled out the need for a skywalk. Citi Space has already written a letter to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan asserting their demand to scrap the four components of the skywalk—CST-Churchgate-Mantralaya-Colaba. The Urban Development Research Institute will organise a meet in the iconic Hornimon circle next week to discuss the issue with heritage activists past and present members of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee and 13 existing people’s organisations working in the fort area.

“Why pedestrians should be made to use the skywalk. The pavements are encroachment free and are 35-feet wide and lot of people use it,” said convenor,Citi Space,Naina Kathpaliya. “Most people walk through Cross maidan and Oval maidan to reach CST,Churchgate and Colaba,so what is the need for a skywalk.”

Architect Pankaj Joshi,UDRI,who had carried out a detailed traffic management study of the fort precinct last year,said that the MMRDA is unnecessarily wasting money in the construction of skywalk. “The fort precinct is organised and has pedestrian routes that is used by people. Instead of skywalk,a pedestarian management is required,” he said.

The study had proposed installation of signals to allow pedestarians to cross roads,dedicating some stretches of roads for pedestarians and lane widening. “These are the most feasible options and can be easily implemented,” Joshi said.

Heritage activists are also frowning over the idea of the new age iron modeled skywalk passing through the Gothic and Noman architecture buildings. More than 150 structures of Grade I,II and II—25 percent of the city’s heritage lists are located in fort,Colaba area.

Conservationist Sharda Dwivedi said,“The historic fort area will be destroyed by these giant yellow caterpillars ruining the skyline and all view corridors. We must do everything to oppose this,” she said. Kathpaliya added,“This is what remains of the heritage in the city and the politicians should just leave it.”

The executive committee of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority last week took a decision to extend the skywalk from CST to Churchgate upto Colaba,including Mantralaya. Dar consultants have been appointed to study the design of the extended skywalk and give recommendation on the execution. Work will begin only after a feasibility report is submitted. The construction of skywalks in Dadar and Borivli will result in chopping of 20 trees and trimming of 199 tree branches. The skywalks are being constructed at Borivli (west),Dadar (east) Swaminarayan temple,Ray Road and at Dadasaheb Phalke Road,Dadar. Tree Authority Committee will meet on Wednesday.

The construction of skywalks in Dadar and Borivli will result in chopping of 20 trees and trimming of 199 tree branches. The skywalks are being constructed at Borivli (west),Dadar (east) Swaminarayan temple,Ray Road and at Dadasaheb Phalke Road,Dadar. Tree Authority Committee will meet on Wednesday.

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