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HC tells government to take a stand on police housing

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted three weeks to the Maharashtra government to take a stand on two public interest litigations (PILs) which have alleged that plots of land reserved for housing policemen were fraudulently allotted to housing societies of legislators and bureaucrats.

One such PIL pertains to the Worli Sagar Co-operative Society at Worli and the other refers to the Vasundhara Society in Juhu.

The PIL on Worli Sagar Society alleged that the Maharashtra state government had acquired these plots in prime areas of the city in 1988 and promised to provide another piece of land in suburban Andheri for policemen, but the land was never handed over.

The other PIL on Vasundhara Society said that the land in Juhu was given to bureaucrats although it was reserved for housing policemen.

Journalist-turned-petitioner Ketan Tirodkar told a bench headed by Justice PV Hardas that the Maharashtra state government had not yet made any statement about providing alternative land for police housing.

Government pleader Aruna Pai sought three weeks to file a reply and the bench allowed its plea.

Three co-operative housing societies namely Sukhada, Shubada and Poorna, which came up on six plots of land in Worli are located in the Worli Sagar Complex at Worli.

Police Housing and Welfare Board’s Managing Director Arup Patnaik said that there is a shortage of housing for policemen.

He said that his organisation is eagerly awaiting the decision of the state to provide alternative land for housing policemen in lieu of the land taken away in Worli and Juhu.

Earlier, the court had issued notices to these societies. The PIL has sought a CID probe into the allegedly fraudulent allotment.

Tirodkar relied on a reply by the Maharashtra state’s home department under the Right to Information Act.

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