Dharavi residents fear stampede owing to narrow 60 feet road
A stampede that took place on Elphinstone bridge on September 29, claimed 23 lives, and has shaken Mumbaikars who worry about the same. One such place is narrow 60 feet road which connects to Mahim railway station, and the residents fear a stampede could happen any day, there.
If time is to be taken into consideration, then it takes half an hour to complete seven minutes walk.
Dharavi has a population of 12 lakh people and the only way to reach Mahim railway station is 60 feet road which falls on Sant Rohidas Marg. This road is narrow and is always filled with office goers. To add to this, hawkers occupy both the sides of the road causing inconvienience to people. In reality, one takes only seven minutes to reach 60 feet road from Mahim station, but due to the hawkers and narrow road, the time taken for the commute increases to 30 minutes.
If this was less, motorists heading towards Sion hospital use 60 feet road too, which also increases the risk.
Demand of skywalk
Considering the inconvenience, Dharavi residents, in 2012, had demanded a skywalk which could connect Mahim to Dharavi. In 2013, the state government took a follow-up and gave the responsibility of the same to Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and had asked the authorities to construct the skywalk. The MHADA then started constructing skywalk from Mahim station to Abdhuday Bank for which INR 36 cr was demanded from the state government.
But the skywalk got stalled...
Out of INR 36 cr, MHADA received only INR 12 cr and with the help of these funds, they constructed half bridge. Now, this bridge is only collecting dust for the past 2.5 to 3 years. MHADA has been demanding the state government to give remaining INR 19 crore to complete the construction of skywalk. However, neither the state government nor MMRDA seems interested.
Acting upon the demand, MMRDA has agreed to give remaining funds and we have received the letter of the same as well. We are expecting nearly INR 15 crore after which we will start constructing the remaining skywalk. Coming 15 days, we will invite tenders for the same, says S S Konnur, executive engineer.
The recent stampede at the Elphinstone road station was alarming and it is high time officials responsible for the development of the city, pay attention and take a step towards our safety. Death at the cost of negligence is not something the citizens should face.
Hope the government, BMC and respective authorities have learnt a lesson and are planning a move, for the better.