Defunct Shakti Mills may be torn down

Aug 27, 2013, 00:08 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Official liquidator appointed by the high court for the disputed land in Mahalaxmi to submit a detailed report for either mending or dismantling the entire structure

It took a deplorable incident to bring public attention back on the deserted and derelict Shakti Mills in Mahalaxmi.

Silent witness: Apart from suggesting more fencing, the liquidator is likely to propose removal of the trees and tall grass, which have grown in and around the mill area. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

Turns out Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) representatives and a team of structural engineers had visited the area a week before the gang rape, to examine rundown structures in danger of keeling over. Now, MiD DAY has learnt that the official liquidator appointed by the High Court will submit a detailed report, with findings on how to prevent recurrence of any such episode.

According to information available with this newspaper, BMC G/South ward functionaries had written to the official liquidator on June 15, 2013, with photographs of the mill structure, intending to seek court permission for either repairing or dismantling it.

The court heard the matter and called for a structural auditor’s report, before issuing an order.

In view of that, the G/South ward invited M/s Structwel Designers and Consultants (Pvt) Ltd to conduct the audit of Shakti Mills.

MiD DAY has been informed that Dr T Pandian, official liquidator, would shortly be tendering the comprehensive report to Justice NM Jamdar, who is presently hearing the winding up petition filed by Mahindra Ugine Steel Company Limited against Shakti Mills on July 26, 1978.

New measures
In his report, the official liquidator would also be recommending measures that should be taken to thwart any future misfortunes and restrict trespassers. Apart from suggesting more fencing, the liquidator is likely to propose removal of the trees and tall grass. Also, a new security agency would be appointed for manning the vicinity. A fresh hoarding would be put up, warning trespassers of prosecution.

Chetan Raikar, chairman and managing director of Structwel, confirmed that an inspection of the compound had been carried out along with officials of G/South ward. Raikar said, “We have conducted a proper structural study of the edifice and have submitted our report to G/South ward. Since the matter is before the court, I cannot make any revelation about our findings.”

No security
As the mill land was in its custody, the office of the liquidator had appointed M/s Garuda Keeper India (Pvt) Limited, sometime after 1985, for guarding the premises.

BN Parde, who earlier worked with the security firm, said, “We were deploying four security personnel round the clock at Shakti Mills, but since the agency was not paid for years, it was decided to withdraw the service in 2007. The guards were paid a mere Rs 1,500 each per month.”

Parde added, “Even in those days, there were many anti-social elements and drug addicts loitering in the huge deserted compound, and local police was informed about this.”

Money to spend
Sources attached to the office of the liquidator informed MiD DAY that after selling the plant and machinery in 1989, a sum of Rs 77 lakh was collected, which was used to clear dues and dividends. Apart from the plant and machinery, other investments of the company were also confiscated. At present, the official liquidator is in possession of Rs 1.64 crore belonging to Shakti Mills, and this would be used for engaging a security service, and clearing of debris.

Rs 1,500
Monthly salary that the watchmen were paid to guard the Shakti Mill compound

Rs 77 L
Amount generated by selling the plant and machinery in 1989

Rs 1.64 cr
Amount in possession of the official liquidator to be used for fencing, clearing of debris  

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