High Court thwarts petition against Vile Parle skywalk

bombay-high-courtThe Bombay High Court has recently rejected the petition filed by Vileparle Vyapari and Residents Association to oppose construction of skywalk at D.J.Road, Vile Parle-W. The Division Bench, consisting of Honourable Judges Ranjana Desai and Mridula Bhatkar, observed that, “Skyway is a new concept. We are of the opinion that it takes time for the people to get used to the new ways and methods”.

The Vileparle Vyapari and Residents Association had filed a petition opposing the construction of skywalk at Vile Parle-W on various grounds such as the D.J.Road – where the skywalk is being constructed – is 40 to 50 feet wide with 7 feet wide footpath on both sides and that the hawkers have also been removed from the walking area. It was also contended by the Association that major trimming of 27 evergreen monsoon trees would prove disastrous environmentally and that the overpriced skywalk is unjustified economically. The Association had further contended that the construction of the skywalk would reduce the width of the road making it hazardous for the fire engines and buses to enter the said road. The Association, in a nutshell, contended that the Vile Parle-W skywalk is not needed for the said reasons and especially without having conducted any survey.

However, the High Court upheld the arguments made by the learned counsel appearing for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) who argued that the skywalk is being constructed only after conducting proper survey. The learned Counsel also submitted that the locality is crowded with ten educational institutions which run in multiple shifts and 80% of the students are local who use the road and require clear roadways. It was further submitted by the Counsel that the cost of the skywalk is based on the technical norms and no public money is being wasted and that majority of local people have registered positive opinion about the construction of the skywalk in the visitor’s book kept at the site.

The High Court, after hearing arguments of both sides, opined that, “The construction of the skywalk being a policy decision of the State and other public bodies, there is not much scope and propriety to interfere with it. We are not inclined to hold that the policy decision is incorrect or flawed”. The Court further observed that D.J. Road is near the railway station and that the city like Mumbai and suburbs, especially like Vile Parle, are overpopulated. Heavy traffic, crowding of the shops and people is an unending process in this metro city and to meet these challenges, it is incumbent on the State and the public bodies to chalk out such policy. The survey report carried out, on the basis of which the construction of the skywalk was approved, was also placed before the High Court. “The skywalk is an alternative and good substitute for the footpath and so it may solve the problem of crowding on the road and of the pedestrians and also the traffic to certain extent. The State while designing and implementing any policy has to consider not only the present state of affairs but also the possibilities in the future. Sky way is a new concept. We are of the opinion that it takes time for the people to get used to the new ways and methods”, so concluded the High Court.

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