Published On : Sat, Jun 10th, 2017

How GOKUL became an illegal HUB for charging Ola E-Cabs!!!


Nagpur: This is a live, but real and a very sad example of a “Smart City” colony for you. Gokul Jorus Housing Society, Borgaon which is less than 2 Kms from Gittikhadan square.

The society lies in a far corner of Nagpur, beyond the Dinshaw ice cream factory, just before the Gorewada lake/ dam.

It is flanked on two sides by still well preserved natural woods, which belong to Forest Dept but are on lease to Army.


The area of the Society is 892 Sq Meters and it has 125 plots,most of them 5000 sq feet or larger; so most of them have apartment complex built on them, there are just 2 – 3 independent houses and some vacant plots.

We are sure when the various Builders sold their ‘one building’ flat schemes, they advertised the area as being ‘Sylvan, close to nature, quiet, peaceful, scenic etc. etc.’ therefore named GOKUL.

Well, let’s see what this Gokul has… and also does not have?

It has a ‘Sabhagruha’ (Celebrations hall) called Kalptaru, built and run by one of the residents of the area, a small school called Blue Diamond but no shopping complex and no play grounds, walking/ jogging parks at all!

The narrow lanes are where children of the hundreds of families living there play and also where elders and others go for their morning and evening walks.

Sorry, Did I say evening walks? No, not possible, because most lanes of this fully sanctioned and approved layout still do not have street lights yet. There are no funds, they are told, and also with forest areas lying on two sides, it does not seem very safe.

A hot party spot for anti social elements

What makes the otherwise truly scenic place almost sinister is that the edge of the forest has become a ‘hot, party spot’ for the wrong kind of people.

They come in their cars fully loaded with alcoholic beverages, eatables, friends… even ‘girl friends’ for ‘special parties’, you get the gist? They park in front of people’s gates and curse anyone who objects. Then they sit in the land between the society and the forest,leaving broken beer bottles, plastic trash, even used condoms around.

A new Neighbor adds to Trouble

And now this Gokul Society has a new gift, a new neighbor. A very ‘powerful’ one – literally in every sense of the word. And it has united ALL the families and residents of Gokul with a sense of foreboding, despair, even fear.

It is a Charging Centre for Ola Cabs constructed at supersonic speed on plot No. 79. The facility can charge 16 cabs at a time. Charging time being approximately one and a half to two hours and the station being run 24*7 so it can hypothetically charge up to 200 cabs in 24 hours.

The objections of the residents

This being a totally residential area, Commercial activity of any sort should not be allowed.

With so many e cabs plying through their lanes, they will become unsafe for children to play, and elders to walk.

There is only one narrow entry/exit point to the whole society from the Gorewada road – just a few meters short of the Ring Road. The constant movement of the cabs will lead to congestion and traffic jams.

With cars coming for charging, many drivers will be spending time around the Charging center with time on their hands. To ‘entertain’ them pan thelas will come in attracting even more nefarious elements.

Appalling noise pollution

The whole idea of having e cabs in the first place is preventing atmospheric pollution. But what about the Noise pollution, these cabs, driven by impatient drivers is already bringing in?

Even when the undersigned was at Gokul this morning, she heard cab drivers honking loudly right from the time they turn the corner to drive towards the charging center. They honk so that the gates of the station are opened for them before they arrive and they can go inside. These cabs have no timings – they can come at 12 midnight and 4 a.m. also. In fact, they would prefer coming for charging when it is ‘off time’ for business.

Illegal construction gets instant power supply

What is disturbing the men and women living here are the ‘benefits’ this commercial facility is getting at unbelievable speed. The whole affair smacks of ‘bending and breaking’ of rules from all Civic authorities.

Just look at the calendar of happenings!

Residents saw some activity on plot no. 79 around 15th April 2017, 11 days before Gadkari and Fadnavis were to launch the E Transport revolution in Nagpur for which Ola C&MD among others were coming to Nagpur.

Upon inquiring, they found out that a charging center for Ola cabs was being built; and not for 2 or 3 cars but for 16 cars at a time.

To accommodate so many points, the design of the center was ‘illegal’ since the shed was being built all along the outermost periphery of the plot with not even inches of land to spare! Is this the FSI everyone gets?

They complained to the two prominent Corporators of the Prabhag who happen to be Bhushan Shinge and Sandeep Jadhav, both of BJP. Shinge is also a NIT Trustee and Jadhav happens to be Chairman of the Standing Committee! They were advised to register a complain with NMC about the irregularities. They did so without wasting time.

NMC sent a ‘notice’ on 29th April – but to wrong plot number and person!! Plot number 78 instead of 79 – deliberately so?!

When the ‘mistake’ was pointed out by the recipient, notice was sent to ’79’ on 16th May – so 17 more days were gained for filing reply.

The NMC notice is pasted on the walls of the center, which has to be replied to by 15th June. But this did not prevent SNDL from sanctioning a 100KV Transformer which was then erected in record two days and power connection given!! ( Just contrast this to the time it takes for ordinary folks to get power connection?)

To add insult to injury, the Transformer is erected outside the compound of the Center, on public space out in the open! (Isn’t one horrific accident where little kids were electrocuted, not enough for SNDL to act so foolhardy?)

So there is no power for street lights where children play and senior citizens walk, but there is ‘instant power’ for Ola cabs recharging???

And now let’s see who this plot No. 79 is owned by?

The mother of Ajay Patil, who is a NCP leader, but whose wife recently joined BJP and got elected as a Corporator too!

Are either of them “unemployed Electrical Engineers?” Not to our knowledge at least so what happened to the declarations made by our Honorable Union Transport Minister and Chief Minister that “unemployed Electrical Engineers would be given permits to build and rent out charging centers and become self employed?”

But people of Gokul are not concerned with this Nepotism at all. They just want the charging center to be shifted to some main road, in some commercial area. Like the Ring Road for instance, which is so close by!

When NT spoke to Corporator Bhushan Shinge, he affirmed that ‘he stood with the people of Gokul in principle.” (Then why has the center already begun operating?)

“Let the NMC declare it is illegal, I will help these people pull it down with my bare hands” he says.

The confidence with which he says it makes residents fearful of what the NMC decision is going to be? What if they allow the structure despite so many rules being broken saying it is “temporary construction?”

“But we will NOT rest and let this matter die down” say residents. “We are unified and determined to fight this – whatever it takes. We are all mostly home owners living here, it is our ONLY home, we will not compromise with our families’ safety.”