MCGM Should Make Modern Technology Available To Senior Citizens, Women & Children: Bombay High Court

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The MCGM informed the court that fresh tenders would be issued and a new skywalk would be ready within 15 months of undertaking the contract.

A division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice GS Kulkarni and Justice RN Laddha recently disposed of a writ petition while directing that the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai shall endeavor to make modern technology available to senior citizens, women, and children.

“We are also of the opinion that considering the large number of commuters using this segment, the MCGM shall make an endeavour to make available all modern facilities in lighting technology in installing the sky-walks. This would cater to the safety of commuters during evening and night hours more particularly, keeping in mind the use of such facility by senior citizens, women and children. We may reiterate that the personal safety of the commuters who use the sky-walk, pavements, is paramount. Also such aspects are required to be considered not only by the MCGM, but even by the State Government and the other concerned authorities,” the bench observed.

The high court was hearing a plea filed pertaining to the non-availability of a foot-over-bridge connecting Bandra Railway Station, on the Bandra East side towards the MHADA end, leading to the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

The petitioner namely K.P Purushottam Nair contended that there is only one pavement for the commuters to travel from the Bandra Railway Station towards BKC and that the same segment faces a junction that has a flow of heavy traffic as the pedestrians are required to also cross the Western Express Highway. The petitioner further submitted that there is only one pavement which is being used by the commuters which is always crowded, resulting in the commuters suffering mishaps and accidents.

Earlier this year in March, the high court had passed an order observing that:

“Safety of the commuters using footpath/pavement is paramount, as any mishap/bodily injury or death, occurring due to nonavailability of safe footpath/pavement/walk-way would amount to a breach of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution to the citizens".

The bench had also noted then that it is the public duty and an absolute obligation of the MCGM, to provide for such basic amenities while accepting its obligation and accountability towards the large number of commuters.

The MCGM had informed the court that the process to restore the Sky-Walk was initiated by the MCGM.

The MCGM in the present proceedings before the court served its affidavit in which it informed the court that steps are now proposed to be taken by the MCGM to reinstall and reconstruct the sky-walk by issuing fresh tenders within two months and the construction of the new sky-walk, to be undertaken within 15 months of the award of the contract including the monsoon period.

After hearing the parties and on assurance of the MCGM, the high court disposed of the petition while observing that:

“We would also intend the MCGM to consider as to whether a part of the sky-walk could be a mechanized walkway, with all safety mechanisms so that it becomes useful to the senior citizens, as also for persons with disabilities, who can then effectively use such facility. In this regard, we may observe that the Central and Western Railways as also the Metro Rails, have provided such mechanisms at several railway stations including providing escalators. Thus, benefits of modern technology needs to be made available to the commuters, to make their commuting life in Mumbai more easier and comfortable. Further the MCGM should also consider having elevators at both the ends of the sky-walk, so that commuting on sky-walk becomes easier for persons with disabilities and senior citizens".

Case Title: K. P. Purushothaman Nair vs MCGM