Liquor bottles, goats and filth seem to be the main beneficiaries of the multi-crore Mahim east skywalk, other than drunks, druggies and other zoned out individuals. The 1.5-km skywalk constructed at a cost of Rs 10 crore by Maharashtra Housing Development Authority (MHADA) is used for every other activity except the purpose for which it was built.
The skywalk is of not much use to pedestrians, as it does not connect to the Mahim railway station. Passing over the Dharavi 60-foot road, one of the busiest junctions in the city, the construction of the skywalk was completed in 2015. For the last four years, MHADA has made several promises to connect the skywalk to the station but to no avail.
On Saturday, when The Sunday Express visited the spot, the entrance of the skywalk on the Dharavi main road near Mahim station was found blocked with bikes. A man was sleeping on the stairs with goats were roaming around. The other landing of the skywalk — at the Rahamuttalah Compound side — was full of fodder for goats.
Residents call this skywalk a white elephant that nobody cares for. “The planning was flawed, as it was supposed to connect Mahim station, so that people from other side of the Dharavi 60-foot road could directly reach the station. But the landing is at least 300 m away from the station. So, hardly anybody uses it. This project is a waste of public money,” said Kalim Shaikh, a resident of Dharavi.
MHADA officials said the original plan was to connect the skywalk to the station but it was not done due to a fund crunch. Now, to connect the two, MHADA requires another Rs 15 crore. Priyank Gupta, who lives near Dharavi 90-foot road, said, “Most of the time, the skywalk is taken over by druggies. Filth and goats are common and at times, there are no lights. There is nobody to look after its maintenance.”
Despite repeated attempts, MHADA Chief Public Relation Officer Vaishali Gadpale did not respond to calls and messages.