OVER FIVE years after the Bombay High Court directed the reconstruction of a dilapidated building in the children’s home at Dongri, the structure will be inaugurated soon. The occupancy certificate for the three-storey structure was received recently.
In 2014, during a visit to the home, the principal judge of Mumbai city civil and sessions court had written to the HC on the dilapidated condition of the building, stating that lives of children are in danger if the structure collapses. Taking suo motu cognisance of the letter, the HC had directed the authorities to shift the children to an alternative accommodation.
The court had also ordered for funds to be made available to the Public Works Department to demolish and reconstruct the building in 2015, directing it to be completed in a year. From time to time, while the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was heard, the court had directed for the repairs and renovation to be completed at the soonest. “We expect that steps are taken to see to it that construction is not delayed and that the buildings are completed so that it results in facilities that are made available for children who are remanded to the home,” the HC had said in June 2017, when it was submitted that construction will be completed within six months.
An official from the WCD department confirmed that the occupancy certificate has been received. “After completing some internal work, the building will be inaugurated for housing children. We are taking a decision on whether children in conflict with law at the special home in Matunga will also be moved to Dongri, or the space can be used for any other vocational facility,” the official said.
While children who are found to have committed an offence after an inquiry by the Juvenile Justice Board are kept at the David Sassoon special home in Matunga, children undergoing inquiry are lodged at the observation home in Dongri.