Login Welcome, Guest
With new chief, MMRDA may revive old concepts


The city’s development authority may revive some old concepts lost in bureaucracy or put on the backburner under its new commissioner.

In an interaction with select mediapersons, UPS Madan, the new metropolitan commissioner of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), said he will try to expedite the project of developing circles of influence around planned Metro stations and focus on building infrastructure for pedestrians, including skywalks that had become controversial.

“I don’t have a ‘no-skywalks’ approach. There are places where there is a demand for skywalks, but we will have to consider their feasibility. Most importantly, the skywalks should be adequately connected at least on one side as people certainly don’t like climbing staircases up and down on both sides,” said Madan, a 1983 batch IAS officer. He took charge on Saturday following the retirement of Rahul Asthana.

“The idea is to create infrastructure not just for vehicles, but for pedestrians, too, either by improving footpaths, betterment of traffic signals or building skywalks,” said Madan, who had earlier served a short three-year stint at MMRDA as project director.

Over the last few years, MMRDA has built 36 skywalks for pedestrians across the Mumbai metropolitan region. The entire project was severely criticised for improper planning leading to poor utility. The Mumbai Transformation Support Unit, a state government think tank, had in 2010 conducted a footfall survey at certain skywalks such as the one at Kanjurmarg and Bandra. The survey showed that the structures were being used by very few people. Subsequently, MMRDA took a policy decision to not build more skywalks in the city.

Madan said MMRDA will try to expedite the project of creating circles of influence by developing areas around the proposed Metro stations. “A proposal in this respect is with the urban development department. As a concept, it is agreeable to all. We will see how we can expedite it,” he added.

The concept is nearly seven years old and had been discussed in detail by state urban planning agencies and the private sector alike in meetings of the empowered committee.

In terms of the kind of projects that MMRDA will execute, Madan said his focus will be on projects surrounding transport infrastructure and housing, as well as large social infrastructure projects where coordination is required between two or three urban local bodies.

The metropolitan commissioner said there will be “zero tolerance” for construction-related accidents.

Roadblock cleared for SCLR

Clearing the last regulatory hurdle for the much-delayed Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), the Commissioner of Railway Safety has verbally approved the launching scheme for the road to be taken over the Central Railway’s suburban main line. MMRDA is likely to get the approval in writing within the next couple of days, said SVR Srinivas, additional metropolitan commissioner. The development authority has been in talks with the railway for the past five years for securing approvals to take the road over the main line and harbour line. The road, which has been under construction for almost 10 years now, is expected to be complete by the end of this year.