Bengaluru: Although most skywalks in the city appear to help only advertisement agencies rather than pedestrians , the authorities are continuing to build them. Poorly planned, some of them may even dwarf heritage structures like the Lady Jehangir Kothari Memorial Hall and the Mahatma Gandhi statue.
The BBMP has already completed the construction of 29 skywalks across the city under both the Public- Private- Partnership model and Non-PPP model. Another 54 skywalks have been approved and are in the process of being built. In addition, the tender process is underway for construction of 34 more skywalks and the building of 35 others is awaiting the BBMP council’s approval.
Some of the existing PPP model skywalks have already done the damage, obstructing the view of heritage structures in the city. A good example is the huge skywalk running from Mission Road to OTC Road near LIC buildings which is blocking the view of the Oriental Buildings Houses near Hudson road. Work is also scheduled to begin soon on some of the Central Business District (CBD’s) PPP model skywalks like the one extending from the RC College compound to the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan campus, Queens Road to Park Temple, MG Road to the Boulevard and ASC Center to the Police Chowk.
But defending the BBMP’s decision , its chief engineer for road infrastructure, Somashekar, says,
the location of the skywalks has been based on a feasibility report. “ We are building them at a height of 5.5 meters in accordance with IRC guideline. Safety is our first priority . Sometimes 30 seconds isn’t be enough to cross a junction and so it is important to build skywalks at such places,” he maintains, claiming that they will not obstruct the view of any heritage structure. “The skywalks are supported by sleek pillars , which only obstruct the view partially,” he argues.
But urban expert, V Ravichandar is clear that constructing skywalks inside the city is a bad idea. “Why are pedestrians given lip sympathy and not treated well?” he asks.