Narayan Rane's bungalow pulled down finally
Following this paper's reports, Narayan Rane's bungalow, which illegally stood on land acquired for NH-17, demolished months after compensation was paid
Monday dawned with an excited lot of villagers from Tara and neighbouring hamlets gathering to watch the demolition of part of ex-minister Narayan Rane's bungalow. The villagers had been angry that the house was still standing, despite the Pen collector issuing notice to Nitesh Rane on September 8.
The authorities gave them eight days to demolish part of the property, for which they had received compensation. Some of the bungalow had to be demolished as part of the NH17 widening project. On Saturday some villagers received demolition orders for their houses and Rane's name was first in the list. Around 8:30 am on Monday deputy collector officials came with four JCBs. But officials started demolishing the houses of villagers first. Most villagers were in a mood to agitate as they thought Rane's bungalow would be spared again. But around 10.30 am, one JCB was sent with four officials and 20 police officials to demolish part of Rane's house, and the villagers happily watched it.
Part of the bungalow was demolished by the Collector's office. Pic/Sameer Markande
mid-day had reported on the issue many times, most recently in Rane bungalow row escalates, on October 4. According to officials from Prant office, Pen, Rane was not willing to take compensation in 2016. But officials followed up with him continuously and give him a cheque. Deputy collector Pratima Pudalwad said, "We gave him a cheque eight months ago and since then we wanted to demolish part of his house. But because it kept getting delayed due to some official work. Now we have demolished a compound wall and some part of the house. The coconut trees there will be removed after forest department's permission." An RTI application, made by a villager (regarding compensation for property) of which mid-day has a copy, states that the Ranes' received a compensation of Rs 1,37,00,000 in all.
'Kindness for Ranes'
The villagers are satisfied with the demolition of Rane's property. But Harshal Teje, a villager said, "We are happy that they have demolished part of Rane's bungalow, but they have kept the main gate as it is. After we asked the officials about it, they said they could reuse it, otherwise it will be wasted. We were not shown such kindness. Though we asked officials two days extension for demolition, as rituals were on for our dead ancestors, they didn't listen to us and demolished all houses."
The four-laning of NH-17 is proving to be controversial, as a villager's RTI application has found that apart from issues regarding Rane's bungalow, PWD officials who had measured some villagers' houses three times, had increased the size of some from 300 sq ft to 1,400 sq ft.
Deputy Collector Pratima Pudalwad said, "I have issued orders to revalue the properties of these villagers, as some of them have got a lot of compensation despite having small houses, and others have received nothing. This happened because of PWD officials who took three different measurements of the same house. I have requested them to be present during demolition and re-measure the place, but they didn't come or respond to my letter. I agree it was unjust to villagers but it was all because of PWD officials." Manoj Saunik, Principal Secretary, PWD, said, " I will look into the matter and take a decision."
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