In reply to Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court’s suo motu cognizance on latest encroachment at Kasturchand Park, collector Ravindra Thakare demanded a permanent wire fencing or fabrication work to protect the Chhatri (dome) to restrict visitors’ entry. Sadar police had also written to NMC demanding the same to protect the Grade I heritage place.
A division bench of Justices Ravi Deshpande and Amit Borkar on Friday adjourned the hearing of a suo motu PIL (No 45/2017) where Shreerang Bhandarkar was appointed as amicus curiae.
Both collector and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) filed their replies stating squatters staying under its heritage structure and hawkers around the area were removed immediately upon HC’s directives.
Thakare said NMC had undertaken ground’s beautification work, including building compound wall, gates, parking bay, toilet blocks, electrification, ground levelling and flag mast area. He added Mahametro was granted permission for Metro station construction by dismantling the protection wall of 23 metres from LIC square to RBI square and public toilet was being constructed by NMC in south-east direction. For preparing walking, jogging, cycle track and plantation, he had granted permission to Solar Industries’s Shyam Mundada.
“We had called Solar Industries to expedite the remaining work and also apprised the Nagpur Heritage Conservation Committee of need to have fencing to keep away wrongdoers from illegally using the area under Chhatri,” he said.
NMC’s commissioner Ram Joshi stated that its Mangalwari Zone officials had repeatedly removed encroachments from the Kasturchand Park and its vicinity and also recovered fines from encroachers. After HC’s intervention, the squatters were again removed from its Chhatri located in the middle of the iconic ground.
According to him, no unauthorized structure came up inside the park nor any hawkers were allowed entry, but the wanderers had taken shelter inside the dome due to rains. He pointed out directives were issued to the police by HC in its order of April 24, 2017, to ensure patrolling around the area to stop its misuse.
“Due to Covid-19 pandemic, most of the NMC staff is engaged with related duties and there wasn’t any wilful non-compliance of the HC directives. As various developmental activities were underway there, the area appears to be bit messy,” Joshi said.
(With inputs from timesofindia)