A DAY after the Supreme Court ordered attachment of the Aamby Valley City property of the Sahara Group, it was like any other Tuesday at the 11,000-acre township. A range of everyday activities going on at the township in Lonavala, near Pune, employees said they are yet to hear from the head office about any future course of action.
Located around 100 km from Mumbai, Aamby Valley City is said to be the crown jewel of Sahara Group, and is described as India’s first planned hill station. It comprises both residential and commercial establishments, and the township is valued at Rs 40,000 crore. The signboards on way to Aamby Valley advertise that this city has India’s first amphibian transport system.
The triple-layered security at the township makes unauthorised entry almost impossible. Employees who spoke to The Indian Express on condition of anonymity said that there are several star properties and independent bungalows inside.
An employee said most bungalows are occupied during the weekends, or on vacation; the owners are based in Mumbai or Pune, among other cities. Most visitors come to Aamby Valley to attend weddings or other celebrations. The township has a private airfield for high-profile visitors.
Between 600 and 700 employees at present run the establishment; the senior management functions out of Mumbai. No employee at the site office was ready to talk to the media.
Employees are housed either at the staff housing quarters nearby or in Lonavala. Daily shuttle services are run to ferry them. The daily necessities are brought from Mumbai, and the city also maintains a small service station.
Residents of the eight villages surrounding Aamby Valley City said they have found employment here. A villager, who works as a gardener in the township, said the hospital inside has made it easier for them to access medical services. The news of the Supreme Court order to attach Aamby Valley has not left the villagers ruffled. “Whoever buys the property will require people to run this establishment, so we will always find employment there,” one villager reasoned.
An email to the company seeking details about the future course of action remained unanswered.