The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the state Public Works Department (PWD) to proceed with the second phase of securing the derelict Shakti Mills premises in Mahalaxmi and suggested that the debris removed from the compound be used as a temporary fence for the property.
Amicus curie (friend of the court) Naushad Engineer told the court that the work of removing the shrubbery from the mill compound was almost complete,but a large amount of debris still had to be removed.
After the gangrape of a photojournalist allegedly at the deserted mill,the court had directed the official liquidator,the custodian of the property of the wound up Shree Shakti Mills since 1981,to secure the mill in a phased manner. The first phase entailed the removal of shrubbery and debris,and the second phase pertained to putting up a barbed wire fence and demolition of internal dilapidated structures.
Assistant Official Liquidator Rupa Sutar submitted photographs of the site after removing the shrubbery. A substantial part of the area has been cleared and the area abutting the railway tracks is now accessible, the engineer told the court.
Justice N M Jamdar told the PWD officials that they may submit a cost estimate of the second phase to the official liquidator and the contributors of the mill by November 19,so that they could discuss the proposal. The court will now hear the case on November 29.
Earlier,the court had asked the contributors,the official liquidator and PWD officers to hold a joint meeting to discuss ways to cut cost of the first phase. The engineer,however,told the court that after the joint meeting,the contributors had found the PWDs tender of Rs 17 lakh satisfactory.
The third phase of securing the mill will include electrification of the property. The court had asked the official liquidator to ensure that the area was secured and visible from all sides. According to the PWDs estimates,the total cost of securing the 25,067-sq-m property will be around Rs 1.58 crore.
A synthetic yarn mill,Shree Shakti Mills had gone under liquidation in 1978,when Mahindra Ugine Steel Company filed a petition in the high court claiming dues. The court had ordered the mills to be wound up on January 21,1981. The dues of the creditors have been settled,but the fate of the property has not been decided yet. The central government has filed a application seeking to purchase the property.