‘Koregaon Park Lanes Are Not The Osho Ashram’s Private Property’

(Pune Mirror – September 29, 2010)

Residents of Koregaon Park claim Ashram is installing boom barricades on lane No 1 and 2, illegally. Osho authorities say it is for ‘general security’. Police say it is not their job to give permissions, PMC denies giving nod

If the ‘illegal’ barricades come up here, the public won’t get free access to Lane No 1. Marking made for installing the permanent barricadesThe police might have bowed down to popular demand and agreed to open up lane number one to the public in Koregaon Park since September 10, but there’s a larger obstacle that’s threatening to shut out people from lane numbers one and two.

Local residents are alleging that the Osho Commune International authorities are in the process of installing boom gates at the entrance to both these lanes, without taking permission from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) or the police.

The ashram authorities have reportedly sent request letters to the PMC and the cops, they have nevertheless started installing the permanent barricades on a public road. They say they are putting up these barricades for ‘general security’.

Local resident and former corporator, Jaydeo Randhave, said, “Lane number one links the government boys’ hostel, railway quarters and Mahalakshmi temple to the North Main Road.

Lane number two links Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalaya and Sant Gadage Maharaj School to North Main Road. Both lanes connect to Rajiv Gandhi Nagar and Sant Gadage Maharaj Colony also.

However, the Ashram authorities are installing the barricades without any reason or permission. The roads are not their private property. The locals are using these roads for the past 40 years. If they continue to build the barricades, we will start an agitation.”

Hanumant Joshi, a visually-impaired student of Manipal University said, “I use this road as a shortcut to reach our college from the Government Boys’ Hostel.

If the lane number one is closed, I will have to take a longer route. Without anybody’s help, I can’t cross the road. The lane should not be closed. In fact, one of my classmates was injured last month because of the barricades.”

Zonal commissioner Bhanudas Mane said, “We have not given permission to build barricades to the Ashram authorities. Local residents have some grievances over the issue.

The Ashram did send us some letters in this regard; but we have also given our recommendation to the police, mentioning the residents’ opposition to the closing of the lanes.”

Mayor Mohan Singh Rajpal said, “I have sent a letter to the PMC Commissioner in this regard and also requested him not to shut both the lanes. These lanes are very useful to students and residents.”

Suhas Nadgauda, inspector-incharge, Bund Garden police station, said, “We have provided enough security to Osho Ashram and Chabad house.We did get a letter from the Ashram asking for permission to install boom gates on both the lanes. It is not our concern as we don’t have the authority to give such permission. So we forwarded this letter to the PMC, which is the right authority. We have not asked for any such gate to be installed for the Ashram’s security.”

Maa Sadhana, spokesperson for the Osho Ashram, said, “We have started installing the boom barricades for the general security of the Ashram. There is no opposition from the residents. Everybody has to take the issue of security seriously. About taking prior permission from the PMC, I cannot speak on the issue.”