Inmates at the Chembur Beggars’ Home are living in a derelict building, but a spanking new home meant for them is lying vacant, because the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has yet to give the building an occupation certificate.

The new home is well equipped on the inside and outside. Solar panels can feed the entire building. Pics/Suresh KK
The new home is well equipped on the inside and outside. Solar panels can feed the entire building. Pics/Suresh KK

mid-day had reported on March 26 that 70-80 per cent of the inmates at the home were not beggars, but people the police had picked up from the streets on suspicion of begging (‘Beware! You could be next inmate at beggars’ home’).

The dormitories are spacious and allow plenty of natural light in, while the kitchens are big with separate cooking and washing areas
The dormitories are spacious and allow plenty of natural light in, while the kitchens are big with separate cooking and washing areas

The report also detailed the poor living conditions of the inmates, who lived in dark rooms, had unhygienic toilets and were fed unhealthy food. The inmates currently stay in the barracks.

Well-equipped interiors
Authorities could do better and shift the destitute to the new building meant to house male beggars. The building is a ground-plus-three-storey structure spread over 6,700 sq metres, and can house 850 people.

mid-day visited the premises and saw the huge dormitories, big cooking area. There is also a 40-bed hospital for preliminary screening, provision for an ambulance, and many other facilities.

This building, whose contract was awarded in 2008 and construction of which began in 2011, has been lying vacant for nearly a year. The adjoining two-storey structure is meant for women beggars, and is in the last stages of construction. Work is anticipated to be completed by April end.

Civic body delays
The three-sided building has a huge garden in between, which can be used for morning and evening walks. Entertainment programmes may also be arranged here. A lawn with seating arrangements is also available for visitors.

However, all this can be put to use only when civic officials decide to give the OC. Gautam Arwel, superintendent at the women’s beggars’ cell, said, “We cannot think of shifting any of the inmates unless we are given possession by PWD.”

An official from the Public Works Department said, “The structures are complete and as per the layout plan. But, the BMC has informed the developer that the OC will be given only after the environment clearance certificate.

This is an unheard-of requirement. This will further delay shifting the inmates, and the existing barracks can’t be demolished until the people move.”

BMCspeak
When we asked the executive engineer of the Building Proposal department (Eastern Suburbs) why the OC had been held up, he said, “I’m currently not aware of this matter. I will revert after checking the files.”