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    Published On : Wed, May 18th, 2016

    Decades old Harinath Saoji comes tumbling down in an hour

    photo 1

    Nagpur: Harinath Saoji has been doing business at this spot for over 25 years. Anshul Marble and Supremo fibres have been having their godowns having workshops and marketing depots for a long time… Supremo for almost 40 years. There is another Saoji – Laxman, that was fast gaining popularity with youngsters for its non-veg Saoji thalis.

    All these establishments together give livelihood to more than 15 families, most of them quite poor. In fact, the owner of Harinath Saoji, Abhay seemed to belong to average, lower middle class humble origin.

    The affected people having their rented establishments in Subhashnagar, Hingna road, next to the Gajanan Mandir overlooking Ambazari lake were looking shell shocked and in complete disarray today.

    For Harinath Saoji, its raw material like a sack of onions, cold drink bottles, plates, tables and chairs were lying on the road side – their tin shade roofs being systematically removed. The blue paint of their walls peeled and scattered all over the mud floor. The old women wearing nine yard sarees who cooked there and the youngsters who worked as waiters standing around helpless, watching their life fall apart.

    All this stretch of land, now legally belongs to builder Ashutosh Shewalkar, you see. (At an average estimate it must be costing no less than Rs. 100 crores at today’s market price).

    He was also there, along with a large contingent of police, the baillif and about 100 of his work men who were involved in dismantling all the ‘tenants’ being evicted.

    Ironically, we saw some remaining tables of Harinath being used by some men to have samosas and other refreshments.

    “Don’t eat that, Sir ( Shewalkar) has organized lunch for everyone” someone shouts.

    Ofcourse, no one is asking the evicted people if they have had anything to eat.

    At the end of the five commercial establishments is a cottage type house where the ‘landlord’ Kishor Fulsanghe- alleged to be the illegal occupant of the land for the last 7 decades, who had given all these places on rent, lives with his extended family of sisters and brothers.

    The women of this house are looking in shock too. They claim they also do not have a clue as to what is happening. Their house has not been touched yet, but as we stand talking with them, their electric connection is snapped. No power for residents when it is 46* outside.photo 5

    Shewalkar informs us that he has won a case against Fulsanghe in the Supreme court 4 years ago. He bought the place from the rightful owner, Mulak more than 35 years ago and since then has been trying to get possession.

    The tenants, on the other hand, claim that they have legal tenancy agreements with Fulsanghe and have paid rent right till May.

    They were not given a single day’s or even one hour’s notice before their sheds and their properties are being demolished.

    Ashutosh Shewalkar, the builder, says on humanitarian grounds he has called for vans and labour at his expense to have ‘assets’ of the tenants removed.

    The tenants deny this – ” you can see my marble slabs being thrown on the road and breaking into pieces” says the owner of Anshu Marble.

    Supremo fibre owner Pravin Bisen says the shed itself would cost Rs. 5 to 6 lakhs to re build elsewhere. The material inside is worth much more.photo 4

    “How much is your damage?” We ask.

    “My whole lifetime’s worth shattered” he replies simply.

    “Why have you not taken legal opinion, or approached the court for stay?” NT asks.

    “The courts are closed for summer, the CP is not available… who should we talk to?” they ask helplessly.

    This is a very large stretch of land extending from the Gajanan Mandir, the nursery and right upto Harinath Saoji.

    People living close by say they were all aware this was under litigation and demolition had to happen sooner or later.

    Now Shewalkars’ plan to build a grand apartment complex in this space – may be with some commercial space thrown in too?

    We may get a Dominos or chain restaurant there soon after, but no more Saojis… THAT scene will have gone with the summer wind.photo 3

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