NMTV News had first aired a report on how skywalks would turn out to be one of the failed projects of the city in December 2008. And now the residents and merchants in various parts of the city have come together to protest against the 50 skywalks that would be developed in the city at a cost of Rs 1000 crore. They have also demanded that MMRDA Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad be replaced accusing him of wasting public money in the name of skywalks. It may be recalled that NMTV News had aired a report in December 2008 on the failure of skywalks as a public amenity. Where ever skywalks have been built in other states in India, authorities have confessed on more than one occasion that skywalks are not optimally by the public. People prefer crossing roads instead of taking skywalks for various reasons. Moreover skywalks that are two or more-storeyed are inaccessible for persons with physical disabilities and often senior citizens. Even for the skywalk in Bandra, there are very few takers. And now two months later to the report, the citizens of Mumbai have too joined hands to protest against the skywalks. Local residents and merchants of certain parts of the city where the pending 49 skywalks are being planned have protested against this development. According to merchants, if illegal hawkers are removed from footpaths and Supreme Court’s orders followed, then Rs 1000 crore which would be spent on these skywalks would be saved. Viren Shah, the President of the Merchants Association had held the Chief of MMRDA, Ratnakar Gaikwad responsible and have demanded is removal. A representative delegation of these merchants met with MPCC Chief Kripashankar Singh and put forth their complaints. Responding to the complaints, Kripa Shankar Singh stated that while the skywalks were being made for the convenience of the people, is certain sects have an issue, then they would take it for discussion with the Chief Minister and a common solution would be sought. Speaking on the misbehavior of Ratnakar Gaikwad to the merchants, he stated that he would take it up with the Chief Minister. Like NMTV News had aired in its earlier report, now the residents of Mumbai too are demanding that the focus of the civic corporations and state should be on making footpaths encroachment free for pedestrians and ensuring that traffic signals and traffic system work effectively. More so as most skywalks are being built at many places skywalk without any proper survey and study of the needs and feasibility, which is slowly earning the ire of the residents of Mumbai. While most welfare scheme like mid day meals, the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan, the debt ridden state is not learning any lessons and continues to waste public money is largely wasted projects like skywalks. With cameraperson Dhanse Mehboob, Rajeev Mishra for NMTV News.
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