This is part of our series following Mumbai through monsoon season. You can find the first post here, and the second here.
Inter-agency conflict continues to make life more difficult for Mumbaikers on the move during the monsoon.
At the Vidyavihar railway station, commuters have to muck through monsoon muds to get across the station to the footbridge over the tracks, instead of crossing the station’s new skywalk.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) opened the sykwalk on February 11, but two weeks later Central Railway (CR) authorities blocked railway-side access to the skywalk with tin sheets.
At first, CR officials said the MMRDA did not have permission to build the skywalk in the first place; but MMRDA officials countered that they submitted their application for permission in November 2009. Then CR officials said they feared people might use the skywalk to gain access without tickets – so MMRDA put up warning signage.
Now, CR officials say that until the skywalk is expanded to include a second footbridge over the tracks, it may lead to increased traffic that their footbridge cannot support.
CR Chief Public Relations Officer Srinivas Mudgerikar said, “Our bridge may not be able to take the additional burden. The skywalk should supplement the railway foot-over-bridge and help reduce the burden.”
But MMRDA says they will need another year to complete the supplementary footbridge; until then, they say it just “does not sound logical” for the skywalk to remain unused.
As the tiff continues, the clear losers are Mumbaikers in transit, who see the blocked skywalk sitting empty as they have to trod through mud to gain access to the other side of the station.
This is another example of the urgent need for better coordination among city officials to ensure efficient infrastructure development that will help make Mumbai more “monsoon-proof.”