Bhide Wada in spat between HC and shop-owners

Bhide Wada in spat between HC and shop-owners

Pune: It seems controversies are favourite of the season. The latest one being the 'Bhidewada', the first school for girls was started by visionary reformist Savitribai Phule on January 1, 1848, here. The monument waiting to get the national monument status has sparked off a war between shop owners and Bhidewada Smarak Samiti with latter demanding national status for the place as early as possible. Meanwhile, the place continues to be in the dilapiated state.

The eight shop owners who run their shops here demanded that they should be allowed to continue their business as this is there second generation doing business at these premises. Secondly, there has been no proof saying that this is the very place where the first school was started. They also stated that they had filed a Right to Information (RTI) regarding it, but it has not been answered till date. They have filed a petition in the high court and the court has stayed the matter for a decade now.

One of the shop owners Ashwin Shah, said, “Before the year 2000, there were no protests made by the social organisations or political parties. Suddenly, the protest started growing, forcing us to move to the Mumbai High Court in 2008. The court has given a stay order in the case. We also had filed an RTI three years back to know the history since we have heard from our ancestors there was no school here. But, we did not get the reply to our query yet.”

Shah added saying, “We do not have any problem with the corporation, neither we are against conferring it the national monument status, but since we are registered shop owners with the PMC, our shops should not be evacuated from here.

Commenting on this issue advocate Manjusha Idhate, PMC Law Officer, said, “According to the Mumbai High Court order, since the matter is pending with the court and the respondent corporation is unable to take possession, the time spent in the present petition can be considered at the time of declaring land award. The matter is still pending and the land award is yet not declared.”

Efforts will be made by PMC
PMC Law Officer Manjusha Idhate also mentioned that, in the General Body meeting of PMC in 2006 and in the Standing Committee meeting of 2008, a resolution was passed, that the efforts will be made by PMC to get a status of a national monument, as it was the first girls school started by Savitribai Phule in Pune.

Pritesh Gavli, member of Bhide Wada Smarak Samiti, said, “According to the history, the first girls school was started by Savitribai Phule in Pune, and as the shop owners are stating that, there wasn't any school operational here before is totally wrong, they must look at the history books first and then comment on such sensitive topics. Unless and until the shops are not evacuated, no construction work can be done here. There is no point in opposition from the shopowners, as they will be rehabilitated to another place.

'There was a school'
On January 1, 1848, Savitribai Phule and her associate, Fatima Begum, set up the school at Bhide Wada, Pune and it was named after the owner of the property, Tatyarao Bhide, which was operational for decades.

According to the shop owners, in 1994 or 1995, Mavdikar who was the owner of the 2,500 sqft property put the property on the mortgage to the Pune Merchants Co-operative Bank.

Babulal Jadeja, one of the eight shop owners said, “When the property was on mortgage with the bank, our senior family members used to pay Rs 36 as a rent to the Pune Merchants Co-operative Bank. The bank then sold it to Kishor Thakkar associates in 2000 who planned to build a commercial-cum-residential complex on the site. While Kishor was working on the plan, he got the eight shops registered with the Corporation and the agreement was also made in the same year.”

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