...but in this illegal building, a primary school will run

Come June, the education department of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will open a Marathi primary school at the controversial Sundew Apartment in the posh Prabhat Road area.

The subject of a 13-year-old legal battle between the PMC and civic activist Vijay Kumbhar, the building was formerly owned by builder Girish Vyas, son-in-law of former chief minister Manohar Joshi.

Manjushree Khardekar, a member of the the PMC education board said the proposal to start the school in the building has been passed. "Initially, the school will be run on the first four floors. As the building was constructed for residential purpose, the civic body is making architectural changes to suit a school," she said.

The education board is giving final touches to functional details of the school, like number of classes and divisions to be run.

The 8-storey building was the cause of a legal battle between Kumbhar, who had protested against changing the status of the land originally reserved for a primary school.

Post Vyas entering into an agreement with the plot owner for developing the land, things started moving.

Initially, building permission was rejected by the PMC as it was reserved for a school in the development plan. Both the PMC and the urban development department of the state government later sanctioned lifting of the reservation.

Kumbhar and corporator Nitin Jagtap challenged it in the High Court in 1998.

The High Court castigated the civic body for changing the reservation and directed that either the building be demolished or handed over to the PMC. The Supreme Court upheld the HC order and the PMC took possession of the building in April 2012.

The education board has decided to open a primary school on the first four floors but appears undecided on what to do with the remaining four.

... contd.

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