With the government’s initiative to take back unused land given to institutions, the Pune district administration that had already taken back land measuring 4,185 sqm near the Savitribai Phule Pune University initiated evacuation notice to the Bharatiya Charitrakosh Mandal (BCM), asking them to clear the property on July 16.
The administration wants to house the consumer court and other government offices on the prime land. The Indian Express had in May highlighted the issue of the administration having returned the land to the state government.
However, the BCM has asked for more time with the additional commissioner due to hear the case on July 20, and if the court rules in the government’s favour, the authorities have agreed to clear the property by July 23. The district administration had issued the notice to the BCM trust on Wednesday, and on Thursday officials from the tehsildar’s office were at the spot to carry out the evacuation orders. However, the trustees have sought time till July 23.
Officials from the tehsildar’s office said they were merely following the orders. “The orders were earlier issued whereby the administration officials had returned the plot to the state government for non-utilisation of land even after giving the institution several opportunities and the trust had got a stay for the order. The period for the stay order was till June 30 and since that period expired, we have initiated action,’’ said Pune city tehsildar Vaishali Rajmani.
However, trustee Shailaja Vinayak Chitrav said since the lawyers were on strike, the case before the commissioner’s office never came up. “First it was scheduled to be heard on July 6, then July 13 and now July 20. We have sought time till then and I have also given a letter stating that if the court ruled in favour of the district administration, then we would evacuate on July 23. At present, we have the binding unit, books and other machines there, and we need time to shift,’’ said Chitrav.
Meanwhile, Resident Deputy Collector Suresh Jadhav stated that the institution had been given ample time and they had not constructed anything or used the land for the said purpose. “They had got an extension earlier as well but they did not get back to us with any document. The land is prime property and since we already have a demand from the consumer court, we plan to give it to them,’’ said Jadhav. Meanwhile, there is also consideration to house the Pune city tehsildar office and the sub-registrar’s office in this area. With some land going in for widening, the first priority will be to the consumer court, said the resident deputy collector on the issue.
The land also houses a Bank of Maharashtra branch. They too have sought time to shift out to their other premise. The earlier notice was issued on April 5. The officials said a part of the plot was given to V S Chitrarao of the BCM in 1964 at half the ready reckoner rate. The remaining was given in 1977. The administration officials found that the land was not utilised for the purpose for which it was granted within two years from the date of grant. BCM authorities said when the land was granted it was to carry out Sanskrit work and there was no clause of 100 per cent utilisation of land.
In 2003 too, the local tehsildar had issued a notice seeking return of the plot. The BCM had then appealed before the divisional commissioner. The notice was issued again on August 5, 2009, and then again this April.