The district administration has issued showcause notices to 48 of the 63 educational institutes in Pune district that was given government land for educational purposes for violation of lease terms. Reports in the case of 19 of the institutes have been forwarded to the state government. Six of the institutes are in the process of complying with the norms, sources said.
“Necessary action will be initiated against the institutes. While a few have been given extensions, others will have to pay penalty according to each case after assessment,” said District Collector Vikas Deshmukh.
Last year, an RTI filed by The Indian Express had revealed that of the 63 educational institutes in Pune district that were given government land for educational purpose, five institutions from Pune city and Haveli taluk had violated the Maharashtra Land Revenue (disposal of government lands) Rules 1971, while the process of verification is under way for 27 others.
According to the revenue department, the violators included Bharati Vidyapeeth (Lohegaon), Kannada Sangh, Maharashtra State Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Progressive Education Society Modern High School, Mauje Aundh and Dnyaneshwari Shikshan Trust, Yerawada.
“We have not initiated any action against those who have cleared the dues and there are others who have been given an extension,” said an official.
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The violations included unavailability of documents, non-completion of checking process in some cases.
The issue had surfaced when the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report which had slammed educational institutes for misusing plots acquired from the government by changing the land reservation, renting out the premises for other purposes and by getting the land at unjustified concessional rates. The report had mentioned the case of State Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam’s educational institute Bharati Vidyapeeth in possession of 19,200 square metres of land in Pune.
As per norms, government plots are given free of occupancy price and free of revenue for construction of schools, colleges, hospitals, dispensaries and other public works out of which profit is not expected under rule.
The government also gives out plots for playgrounds in schools and colleges and gymnasium for a period of 15 years on payment of nominal lease rent of Re 1 a year.
Many of the institutes allotted land do not have the date of land allocation in the list provided by the Pune district collectorate. The present usage of the land as well what approvals were sought were checked by revenue officials, after which the notices were issued.