After years of legal battles, Bhide Wada, the site where India’s first girls’ school was established by Mahatma Phule and Savitribai in 1848, is set to become a national monument.
The Bombay High Court’s recent decision has paved the way for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to take over and redevelop the property for this purpose.
In a monumental victory for the PMC, which involved nearly 80 hearings spanning over 13 years, the authorities are now prepared to take immediate action following the court’s verdict. This historic site, where Savitribai Phule taught the marginalized ‘untouchables,’ is finally set for a significant transformation.
Amid widespread calls to designate Bhide Wada as a national memorial, the PMC assumed control of the property in February 2006, subsequently resolving to construct a national monument. The PMC’s standing committee approved this decision in January 2008, initiating the process of land acquisition.
The PMC acquired 327 square meters of land for a sum of Rs. 1.30 crore, which was paid to the land acquisition department. Previously owned by the Pune Merchant Co-operative Bank with 24 tenants, a petition against the PMC was filed on their behalf in court.
Neesha Chavan, the legal adviser to the PMC, expressed her pride in the High Court’s decision, affirming that the process would commence under the collector’s guidance to assume control of the Bhide Wada site.
Chandrakant Patil, the Minister of Higher and Technical Education, hailed the day as historic for the people of Pune and a significant step towards Bhide Wada’s transformation into a national monument. As the guardian minister, he has been unwavering in his efforts to make the Wada a national monument and met with State Advocate General Birendra Saraf to ensure the government’s active involvement in the High Court proceedings, extending his congratulations to the citizens.