Friday, 16 January 2015

The elevated autorickshaw deck at Andheri, an unqualified engineering disaster that has cost Rs8 crore to construct, has just turned into a bigger nightmare for Western Railway (WR) officials. The ramp leading to the deck on the eastern side of Andheri station has started to get its first hawkers. A section of officials believe that going by the way hawking spreads in Mumbai, it is a just a matter of time before the deck itself is taken over by unauthorised hawkers.

Currently unused because WR and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have been unable to agree on how to clear the deck's entrance from the Nityanand Road end of shops, the deck can be a good hawker magnet because it will allow people to shop without any of the hustle and bustle that the foot over bridges (FOBs) of the station generate.

"Moreover, with the Railway Protection Force concentrating on the FOBs, the hawkers on the deck will have a field day. The deck should have been constructed only when all the loose ends had been tied up. It is a shame and the engineering department of WR should be hauled up for this disaster," said a senior railway official.

Ironically, the deck which is 90% complete since construction started in 2011, was supposed to be commissioned in December 2014, after missing several deadlines since May 2013. Now, officials are unsure when it will get completed because removing the shops could take a few years as the procedure can get very litigious, agreed officials.

A brainchild of the construction department of WR, the plan involved building a 100-metre-long elevated autorickshaw lane, on which autorickshaws will enter from Swami Nityanand Road, just in front of the BEST depot at Agarkar Chowk, and then move on to a two-lane elevated deck — 60-metre long and 34-metre wide with footpaths on either sides — built between the middle and north FOBs. From there, the autos would pick commuters and return to the eastern side of the station without crossing the north FOB.

Source: DNA India


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