Nagpur: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has ruled that Sonegaon lake is no more a private property. Now, the lake spread in 16.42 hectares has virtually come under the possession of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), bearing fruit for the over 25 years long battle — led by president of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Prashant Pawar and RTI activist TH Naidu — for the conservation of the lake.
Hearing a writ petition filed by Pawar and Naidu 27 months ago, HC bench of BP Dharmadhikari and Swapana Joshi on October 11 said, “We find that the owners of the tank — Dr Rekharani Bhiwapurkar and late Dr Sudha Sutaria — have permitted other respondents (state government and NMC) to invest public money in it since 2010 for its beautification. Efforts are now on to find out how the owners can be compensated. In this situation, respondents cannot now claim either possession or ownership over the tank and can only be compensated either in cash or kind,” the HC ruled.
Pawar and Naidu received copy of the HC order on Friday. They told media that it’s a historic victory for the city, environment and activists. “Lake was under the possession of Courts of Wards, district administration. Court of Wards auctioned the lake to Dr Sudha Sutaria and Dr Rekharani Bhiwapurkar in 1971. Sutaria sold part of the lake and fencing was done in 1992. We are fighting for conservation of the lake which is facing destruction. We approached the HC after the government, district administration and the NMC did not respond to our pleas to acquire the lake,” they said.