Bhide Wada was razed down on Tuesday/ ANI Screengrab
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) took down the two-storey Bhide Wada building in Pune as locals resisted handing over the land, ignoring court orders, a PMC official confirmed, stated a report in ANI.
According to the report, the building was historically significant as it was the place where social reformer Savitribai Phule established the country's first girls' school in Pune. The PMC had planned to create a memorial in her honour since 2006, initiating the acquisition process in 2008. However, residents contested this move in 2010, leading to a prolonged legal battle.
Deputy Commissioner, PMC, Land Acquisition Department, Pratibha Patil told ANI, "The Bhide Wada was a historic building where social reformer Savitribai Phule started the country's first school for girls in Pune. The corporation decided in 2006 that a memorial would be built here in her honour. The acquisition process started in 2008. However, in 2010, the residents of Bhide Wada filed a lawsuit after putting forward their objections (to the acquisition process)."
"From 2010 till date, the case remains in court. However, in the last 5-6 months of the hearing, we pleaded to be allowed to pursue our noble aim of building a monument in the area. We pleaded that the corporation be able to acquire the land and build the monument for society," she added.
Despite winning in both the Supreme Court and Bombay High Court, the residents appealed to the apex court for an extended period to vacate the area, receiving an extra month which concluded on December 2. When attempts to peacefully reclaim the property failed on December 4 due to residents' non-cooperation, the PMC resorted to forceful acquisition.
The PMC official further told the news agency, "The date ended on December 2, following which they were issued a notice of possession. On Monday, December 4, we again tried to have the property vacated but in vain. Owing to the continued non-cooperation of residents, we were left with no option but to move for forceful acquisition."
"This building will be demolished and the process of building a monument will be set in motion shortly by the PMC after securing proper physical possession of the property," Patil added.
The PMC official announced the building's demolition and plans to proceed with the proposed monument construction after proper possession.
Despite legal rulings in favour of PMC's acquisition plans for the Bhide Wada property, opposition remained, especially from traders opposed to the transfer of ownership.
The Bombay High Court recently sided with the PMC, approving the conversion of Bhide Wada into a national memorial, a project planned jointly by the civic body and the state government. Although residents were given a deadline to vacate, they appealed to the Supreme Court for an extension. Following the expiration of the deadline, the PMC made a forcible acquisition, demolishing the building to make way for the national memorial.
Bhide Wada, located opposite the Dagdusheth Ganpati Temple, was historically significant as the site where Mahatma and Savitribai Phule established the first girls' school.
With ANI inputs