Pune: When the plan of their bungalows was sanctioned in 1964, hardly had they imagined that the approved 10 per cent of the total area of the plot would take away the peace of their retirement days.
Senior citizens of the upmarket Bund Garden Road are today fighting for a 15,000 square feet plot, which was sanctioned by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) as open space against acquisition by builders and ownership claimants. In a tussle that began in 2007, a group of 10 men and women, allegedly sent by the ownership claimant, broke open the lock and occupied the open space. The residents immediately filed a complaint at Mangaldas Police Station against them.
According to residents, the PMC in 1964 had sanctioned a plan of seven plots and an open space at Bund Garden Road. The land was sold to seven persons — Hemant Kanitkar, Navalkishor Madanmohan Diddee, Anil Gugale and four others — by late Chintamani Patwardhan of Sangli. In 2007, a group of individuals forcefully entered the plot and manhandled the residents who tried to stop them. “Later, we learnt that it was one Mr Shanbag who claimed that Patwardhan had sold the open space to him. On filing a suit in the civil court, the court ordered a status quo on the plot. Eight months later, Vijaysinh Patwardhan, son of Patwardhan filed a suit against Shanbag and the court ruled against Shanbag saying his title was fake and that he had forged the documents,” said Anil Gugale, 58, share broker and resident.
“Later, one Srinivas Bajaj tried breaking open the gate lock and entered the plot in 2009. The civil court ordered in favour of Patwardhan. In 2010, we appealed against this order in the district court and the matter is subjudice even today,” said Diddee, 70, businessman and resident. A notice by sub-inspector of Mangaldas Police Station confirmed Bajaj’s involvement in the incident.
Leaving open space is mandatory as per rules of the Townplanning Department of the PMC. In a reply to an RTI query by a residents, the city engineer had written, “Open space can be used only for recreation purpose. The usage of the open space cannot be changed and that interchanges can be made only if written consent is obtained from all the plot owners.”
“The plot has been lying vacant and we have no monetary interest. We are fighting against a group of people who are trying to make money by bending rules,” said Hrishikesh Kanitkar, ex-Indian cricketer and resident. The case hearing is scheduled on March 9.