Mumbai’s preschool chain reopens most of its closed centres

In a relief to hundreds of parents, most TreeHouse preschool centres across Mumbai, which were abruptly shut in December after a dispute over dues to staff, opened on Monday. But, they will now be run as franchises.

A few of the centres continue to remain closed, leaving parents anxious.

Last week, the preschool chain had informed centre heads and Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police that they would begin classes by January 9 or 10. Parents had approached the EOW against the closing down of centres without prior notice.

On Monday, while centres in Kulupwadi in Borivli, Maratha colony in Dahisar and other centres in Kandivli and Thane resumed classes, after nearly a month’s gap, Borivili’s IC Colony centre and another one in Malad are still shut.

“By Saturday, we realised that some centres aren’t opening on Monday because we didn’t receive any communication from them,” said a parent from Borivli.

Despite repeated calls, Rajesh Bhatia, managing director of TreeHouse, remained unavailable for comment.

Parents said they hope the centres will continue to run till the end of the academic year.

“We received news that many centres have started. It’s been possible only because of pressure from the EOW and the media,” said Vikas Pandey, one of the parents, who had complained to EOW.

The centres have been franchised to private individuals and groups by TreeHouse. The franchise owners paid off the pending salaries and rent to teachers and landlords. “We are told that although the centres will continue to be called TreeHouse, they will be run by other franchise owners,” said Pandey.

New employees will be appointed at one of the centres in Anand Nagar, Dahisar, which will open on Tuesday. “The centre has been taken over by another preschool chain as franchise so they are changing the staff,” said Pandey.

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