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Wedding causes a stir at renovated ground

Six months ago,the College of Agriculture had spent Rs 60 lakh to renovate its playground and equip it with state-of-the-art sporting facilities.

Written by Atikh Rashid | Pune |
December 3, 2011 4:24:31 am

Six months ago,the College of Agriculture had spent Rs 60 lakh to renovate its playground and equip it with state-of-the-art sporting facilities. Today,the newly constructed volleyball court,the basketball court and the running track are not hosting any inter-college sports events,but the grand wedding of a political leader’s daughter for which a huge pandal has been erected above the courts.

While scores of holes have been dug in the ground to accommodate poles for the tent,the past few days also saw earthmoving machines engaged in digging pits for installation of movable toilets. “The kho kho poles have been pulled out and basketball nets have been removed,one of which got broken,” said a student.

The wedding reception in question is that of Congress MLC Mohan Joshi’s daughter and one that will be attended by a host of VVIPs on Saturday. Incidentally,the College of Agriculture had apparently stopped renting out this area after renovation with an alternative ground created on the Khadki side of the college for such occasions. This is the first event in fact to be held after the new sporting arena came up. What’s more,according to sources,the college has been paid a rent for 2 days only while the ground is being used by the contractor for the last 15 days and would continue to be utilised for another five days at least.

“They have paid rent for December 3,the day of the reception,and for half day each for December 2 and 4 for raising and dismantling structure,” said the source.

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The giant structure that has been raised for the reception includes a huge stage,different dining areas for VIPs and other guests,an artificial fountain and temporary washrooms,all of which,say the students,took at least 15 days to complete after the contractor took charge of the ground.

“They took charge of the ground at least 15 days ago when workers and lorries carrying poles arrived. Then they started digging. For last few days they have locked one gate and have employed a security guard at another. The guard is not allowing any student to enter,” said Vijay Mane,a college student.

According to the highly placed sources in the college,it was political pressure that made the authorities agree to rent out the ground for a wedding. “The college authorities succumbed to pressure. They first resisted but when it came from a minister who has the final say in University matters,they had to give in,” said the source. However,dean Bhimrao Ulmekh said the ground was given on rent after getting approval from the vice-chancellor of the university.

MLC Mohan Joshi,when contacted,said that he had acquired the ground following rules and had paid the rent.

“This is not the first time that the ground is holding an event. There are always weddings,exhibitions and other programmes on the ground. We got it after due legal procedure and are paying money for it,” he said. On being asked whether it’s true that he has paid for only two days,he said,“We paid as per norms.”

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