88-year-old school told to shift from cantonment


The Poona Women's Council (PWC) has been told to relocate a school for underprivileged children running in Pune Camp from its present address, Bungalow number-5, Lothian Road (also mentioned in the address as Tarapore Road).

The reason cited by the Army is that the 5.38-acre land the organisation has been occupying for the past 88 years is an A-1 defence land. It is learnt notices have been sent to PWC to vacate the place.

Given the charitable work PWC has been involved in, the Army said it is considering the matter compassionately.

An alternate site — Vir Sawarkar School offered to the PWC by the Army authorities-was rejected by the PWC.

"PWC runs a school on Tarapore Road in the cantonment on A-1 defence land. The occupation is illegal and hence not tenable. Keeping in view the humane service being rendered by PWC, the Local Military Authority (LMA) has considered the issue with compassion rather than on strictly legal terms. The army authorities have offered another site to PWC to relocate. The LMA is also working with PWC to work out a mutually feasible solution," an official statement from the Southern Command said on Monday.

The case dates back 88 years during the British era when the said land (General Land Register-GLR survey no.98) was given to PWC to run the school. As per information available with the Defence Estates Office, the property was resumed by the authorities from PWC on August 6, 1930 on a compensation of Rs 35,000.

In 1977-78 a lease for 30 years was reportedly made but there are no documents to show registration or execution of the lease. The Army authorities have been asking PWC to vacate the A-1 defence land and sources have said PWC does not have any document to prove the legality of their occupation of the plot.

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