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Wanowrie land: Minister promises thorough probe

The development of a 48-acre land in Wanowrie,where the Harshvardhan Group of Companies is planning a commercial-cum-residential project with a mark-up of Rs 5,000 crore...

Written by Nisha Nambiar | Pune |
July 24, 2009 2:01:54 am

The development of a 48-acre land in Wanowrie,where the Harshvardhan Group of Companies is planning a commercial-cum-residential project with a mark-up of Rs 5,000 crore,allegedly without necessary sanctions,has finally got the authorities taking cognisance. On Thursday,when Revenue Minister Patangrao Kadam was apprised about the issue,he told Newsline that he would look into the matter. “I will do a thorough inquiry as it is a Mahar watan land.”

A Mahar watan land is granted to people by the government and it cannot be sold without the permission of the divisional commissioner/ district collector. The prime land has a current market valuation of nearly Rs 350 crore.

On July 8,2008,the departments of revenue and forest had passed a stay order against the sale of this watan land (survey No 64),which in effect renders null and void the sale of the land in presence of collector and the watandars on June 17 last year. But now it is being claimed by a section of the watandars that only two out of the seven signatories were present on June 17.

Deputy collector (tenancy) Sanjiv Patil said the stay order clearly states that the ownership shown by the builder is not valid. “The order clearly mentions that the watandars cannot sell the land till further orders.”

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As per the stay order,the agreement between the collector and the watandars on June 17 stands void. “The watandars will continue to be the true owners of the land and no group can put up fences or show ownership of land until further orders. The revenue department is still hearing the case,” Patil said.

When contacted,Harshvardhan group chairman and MD Parag Deshmukh said he would not want to comment on the order without seeing it.

Meanwhile,deputy city engineer of the Pune Municipal Corporation Shyam Dhavale said his department would be conducting an inquiry into the matter soon. Earlier,the builder had replied to the PMC notice,asking why it had put up fencing around the property without taking sanction.

The state government had taken over the land from the watandars in 1957. In 1995,former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh took up the issue of re-granting of land. In 2002,the then revenue minister Ramraje Nimbalkar allotted four acres to the SRPF from the 52 acres and the 48 acres were re-granted to the watandars.

The builder has put up fences,but has issued a public notice saying that he is using the land only for “agriculture purpose”. However,the group already has printed brochures with plans to develop the area under the name ‘Eledora’,with shopping malls,multiplex,restaurants,corporate park and a star hotel with exclusive apartment units. The brochure mentions the services of the UK-based architects as consultants.

NIBM Citizens Forum members,who have written to the chief minister,have been protesting against the builder,saying that there are many discrepancies in the deal.

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