The Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) has taken action against Empress Garden Management, accusing them of failing to pay property tax arrears amounting to a significant Rs 18.27 crores.
The notice, delivered on a Saturday, highlights the board’s concerns regarding unpaid dues spanning the past three years, with calculations based on the annual rateable value in accordance with the Cantonment Act of 2006.
Empress Garden, a renowned forty-acre green oasis near Pune Racecourse, currently falls under the management of the Agri-Horticultural Society of Western India.
Suresh Pingale, the Trust Honorary Secretary, commented to Pune Pulse, saying, “Property tax-related matters fall under the jurisdiction of the public works department’s building department, and we are not privy to further details about the notice.”
The historical significance of Empress Garden dates back to 1830 when Sir John Malcolm, the then Governor of Bombay state, established the Agri-Horticultural Society of Western India. Over the years, the garden has been nurtured by notable figures such as botanist Dr. Birdwood, Dr. Heddle, Dr. Jagannath Shankar Seth, David Sasoon, Jamshedji Jijabhoy, and others.
The trust includes distinguished members like renowned rosarian Suresh Pingale as Honorary Secretary and Dr. Phiroz Poonawalla as Honorary Treasurer.
Supported by experts in the field such as Dr. Madhav Gadgil, environmentalist; Dr. Vijay Kelkar, economist and senior bureaucrat; Prof. S. D. Mahajan, botanist; Sumantai Kirloskar, environmentalist; Yashwant Khaire, former garden superintendent of PMC, among others.