12 clubs, Assns misusing Nazul land

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Sep 2017 09:31:55


Staff Reporter,

Government land allotted for pittance is being commercially exploited to earn huge profit, confirms district administration

CP Club, Ladies Club, Officers Club, Jawahar Vidyarthi Gruh, YMCA, VCA, Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh, Vidarbha Hindi Sammelan, Bhagini Mandal figure in the list of violators

Out of 113 prime Nazul (Revenue) land allotted to various clubs, charitable, educational and cultural institutions, as many as 12 most prime properties are being commercially exploited in violation of lease conditions, district administration stated before the High Court. Large tracts of Nazul lands were allotted on a very nominal rate to these institutions and as per record obtained by Revenue Department, the allottees are misusing the land to derive commercial gain.

The prominent violators as per affidavit filed by District Collector include Andhra Association, Bhagini Mandal, CP Club, Ladies Club, Officers Club, Jawahar Vidyarthi Gruh, YMCA, Vidarbha Cricket Association, Charkha Sangh Public Trust, United Free Church. Besides, two major literary organisations Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh at Jhansi Rani Square which got government land to work for betterment of Marathi language and Vidarbha Hindi Sahitya Sammelan (Mor Bhavan) which received prime land at Sitabuldi to work for popularising and conserving Hindi language have also been included in the list of commercial users, and for violating lease conditions.

District Collector Sachin Kurve informed a division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Arun Upadhye that as per GR dated December 23, 2015, allottees violating Nazul land lease condition and indulging in commercial exploitation will have to pay 25 per cent unearned income derived from such activities. The authority also stated that stern steps will be taken against violators.
The High Court had sought these details during the hearing of the suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) entertained by the Court regarding growing misuse of Kasturchand Park ground and its heritage surroundings, going on since long and widely reported by The Hitavada.

Following High Court’s order dated August 2, the District Collector had immediately directed the Nazul Officer, Land Records and City Survey to immediately obtain details from the allottees of Government land about audited accounts of last three years, lease details within one week and reminder letters.

Despite categorical direction from the High Court to all allottees of Government land to submit their accounts for last three years (2014-17), as many as 78 organisations did not bother to submit any details to the Collector. There are seven government institutions on Nazul lands while entire stretch of North Ambazari road from Sitabuldi to Gandhi Nagar has educational institutions on one side and none of them had violated any lease condition, the report submitted to the High Court revealed.

It may be recalled High Court had directed the District Collector to gather data and balance-sheet of all allottees of government lands like Ladies Club, Officers Club and YMCA for last three years and submit as to how for many days, the lawns of these clubs were given on rent for marriage functions, commercial exhibitions etc.

Amicus Curiae Shreerang Bhandarkar had drawn the attention of the Court to huge tracts of lands given on lease to these clubs, institutions and similar bodies and how these institutions indulging in commercial exploitation of these lands at their disposal while citing a complaint made by a vigilant citizen Anil Wadpalliwar to Chief Minister and other revenue authorities. Taking cognisance of this information, the High Court had directed the Collector to gather relevant information for last three years from these bodies earning huge amounts from renting these lands and produce it before the Court in three weeks. The High Court also sought to know the steps taken to prevent misuse of these government leased lands.

According to affidavit filed by District Collector Sachin Kurve that part of Nazul land allotted to Jawahar Vidyarthi Gruha, YMCA, Officers Club, CP Club and Ladies Club are being used for marriage, reception and other commercial activities.

During last three years (2014-17), Bhangini Mandal had shown a profit of Rs 39.44 lakh, Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh reported a loss of Rs 7.06 lakh while Andhra Association also claimed a loss of Rs 2.22 lakh.
Adv Shreerang Bhandarkar is Amicus Curiae in the case. Addl GP Deepak Thakre represented the Collector. Adv Jemini Kasat held the brief for the NMC.