Shrubbery removed from Shakti Mills: PWD tells HC

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Shakti Mills
Mumbai, Oct 15: The Bombay High Court was today informed that the shrubbery inside the defunct Shakti Mills compound, where a photojournalist was gangraped, has been cleared and work is on to remove debris.

Justice N M Jamdar had on September 26 stressed the need to take urgent steps to secure the Shakti Mills premises in central Mumbai after the gangrape incident in August. The court, hearing 'winding up' petition of the defunct Shakti Mills, had said that the Public Works Department (PWD) could undertake phase-wise steps to ensure that the compound is secured.

"In the first phase the shrubbery and other debris can be cleared, in the second phase the compound wall can be fixed and barbed wire fencing can be done along with construction of sliding gates and security cabins. In the third phase, the structures inside the site which have become dilapidated and dangerous can be pulled down," the court had said.

Following this direction, the PWD had started work of removal of shrubbery and debris from inside the compound. Justice Jamdar was today informed that the shrubbery has been removed and the debris would be cleared in some time. The PWD, in consultation with the official liquidator and Shakti Mills company, informed the court that the cost for completion of the first phase was Rs 17 lakh.

The court today directed the PWD to give approximate cost for the second phase to the official liquidator by October 19. The PWD, official liquidator and Shakti Mills company shall hold a joint meeting to discuss the cost. The matter would be heard on October 29.

Soon after the gangrape of the photojournalist in the deserted premises, the High Court had directed the official liquidator and PWD officials to conduct joint inspection and submit a report. The report had said that three measures are needed to be taken to secure the area: clearing the shrubbery and trimming the trees, fencing, and putting up lights.

According to PWD, the entire process would cost Rs 1.50 crore.


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