MMRDA to build 50 skywalks by May 2009

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Mumbai, May 23 (UNI) Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad today said the MMR areas will have at least 50 skywalks, with a capacity of providing shops to 30,000 hawkers, by May 2009.

Talking to reporters after a visit to the first skywalk in suburban Bandra and overseeing the widening and desilting work of Mithi river, Mr Gaikwad said the first skywalk will become operational within a week's time.

He said the skywalks are 300 meter to 1.5 km long. For which, a budget of Rs 600 crore has already been earmarked. There are 104 railway stations in MMR areas.

Autorickshaws, taxies, buses and cars are the cause of major congestion near suburban railway stations, making it extremely difficult for pedestrians to commute.

Therefore, MMRDA conceived the skywalk project, he said.

MMRDA and the Western Railway (WR) are jointly executing the project in Bandra area.

The skywalk will begin at the Bandra East station and will terminate at Kalanagar by passing through Indian Oil building, Annat Kanekar Road and Nandadeep Garden.

It is also proposed to extend the skywalk upto Kherwadi Junction.

There will be 4 entry points. The east side of Bandra station is packed with autorickshaws and buses, which leaves very little space for pedestrians to walk. To streamline and decongest the roads near the station, MMRDA has planned to build an elevated deck for autorickshaws, Mr Gaikwad said.

The length of Bandra skywalk will be 1.3 km from Station to Kalanagar Junction, and the project would be completed before the onset of the monsoons, he pointed out.

Commenting on the Mithi river work, MMRDA Commissioner said the desilting and widening work of the river, which had spread panic among the slum dwellers residing near its banks on July 26, 2005, was going on and will be completed before the onset of monsoon.

The widening and desilting work was compeleted in two phases.

In the first phase, the works was completed within stipulated period of January 2006 to June 2006. That's why in the last two years there was not much flooding of the Mithi river. The expenditure incurred for this work was Rs 25.76 crore, he said.

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