Mumbai: Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday announced that his government is committed to making Pune’s Bhide Wada a national memorial. He said all legal issues regarding it will be settled soon as the state is ready to open its coffers for it. Bhide Wada is where 19th century social reformer Savitribai Phule first started a school for girls.
In December 2021, the state had announced that the seven-storeyed structure would be turned into a national monument, with five floors reserved for a school with all modern amenities. The school was to be run by the Pune civic body, with the basement housing shops.
The matter was raised in the Assembly during question hour by NCP MLA from Pune Chetan Tupe, who asked the State Government to clarify its position. Further, NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal raised the issue of tenants, to which Shinde replied that instructions have been issued to the Principal Secretary of the Urban Development Department to clear the dues of tenants.
Shinde said, “The matter is in the high court. I have already issued instructions that the cost of around Rs10 crore be immediately given to tenants, so that the issue gets settled during the next hearing and the state gets the possession.”
Tupe, meanwhile, also raised the issue of heritage as the Bhide Wada building is almost 150 years old. State Industry Minister Uday Samant said that the archaeology department has clarified that the building can’t be included in the heritage list. “So, we will pay the tenants and take possession. All the work regarding the memorial will be done later,” he said.
Besides political leaders, several organisations have over the years demanded that Bhide Wada be made a memorial. However, the issues between tenants and the Pune municipality have persisted. With the state taking a policy decision to clear the tenants’ dues, the core issue of controversy has seemingly settled.
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