Stressing the need to take urgent steps to secure the Shakti Mills premises in central Mumbai where a photojournalist girl was gangraped last month, the Bombay High Court today asked Public Works Department and the official liquidator to clear the shrubbery inside.
"On an immediate basis, shrubbery and trees below ten feet high and those growing from the side inside the Shakti Mills compound can be removed to enable access to the security guards patrolling the area. The shrubbery shall be cut starting from the periphery," Justice N M Jamdar said.
The court was hearing `winding up' petition of the defunct Shakti Mills. A photojournalist was raped by five men in the deserted premises of the mill last month.
The bench had earlier directed the official liquidator and officials of PWD to conduct a joint inspection and submit a report.
The report, submitted today, says three measures are needed to secure the area: clearing the shrubbery and trimming the trees, fencing, and putting up lights.
PWD official Pramod Patil said it would cost over Rs 1.50 crore for the entire work, and tenders would have to be issued for every part of the work.
"But this process of issuing tenders will take a long time. What is the point of taking up the issue now then? On an immediate basis some work can be done in a phase-wise manner," Justice Jamdar said.
"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 has become dilapidated and dangerous can be pulled down," Justice Jamdar said.
Posting the matter for further hearing on October 10, the court said, "We expect work of removal of shrubbery would have commenced by then. The official liquidator and PWD shall work together in formulating a draft notice/tender for the work to be carried out and place it before this court for approval." The court also directed the official liquidator to approach the Western Railway and ask if it would be constructing a wall adjacent to the railway tracks passing by the compound.