Unsafe Utkal Balashram building poses danger for inmates

Balasore: Decades-old Utkal Balashram, a special home for children in the city lies in complete neglect posing threat to the lives of hundreds of orphans and poor children living inside its premises.

Locals allege that the district administration has not taken steps to demolish the dilapidated building and build a new one which is endangering the lives of hundreds of orphans and poor children living in a building adjacent to the balashram.

The Utkal Balashram is being run by the District Child Protection department. Built in British era, the Balashram houses more than 300 orphan and poor children from the State and outside.

Sources said, keeping in view the poor condition of the old building of the Balashram, the district administration has given approval for its demolishment. But the order is yet to be carried out. The then Union Minister Srikant Jena had sanctioned Rs 63.27 lakh grant for the renovation of the institution, but still it lies in a neglected state.

As per reports, the IDCO was given charge to construct a new building. But there has been an inordinate delay to execute the same.

“The administration should take steps to ensure that no unfortunate incident occurs. We heard that the old building will be razed and money has been sanctioned for a new building. As children always come in contact with the abandoned building, even a wall collapse might lead into a major mishap,” said Gourang Panigrahi, a local.

“The district Collector has already assured that the old building will be demolished and a new building will come up soon,” said Muktikanta Panda, superintendent of the Utkal Balashram.

Meanwhile, the IDCO divisional manager Rajkishore Nayak said the tender will be invited soon as the money has already been granted.

“Tender process will take one and half months and after that the work order will be issued. We expect that the work will begin from October,” Nayak added.