Pune: Elderly Couple Faces Rs 5 Lakh Fine For Ganpati Idol In Housing Society Lobby

Ganpati outside flat in Pune
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Pune, 15th July 2023: An elderly couple residing in Flower Valley Co-operative Housing Society in Wanowrie has been issued a hefty fine of Rs 5 lakh 62 thousand for allegedly encroaching upon the lobby area. The couple had installed a 2.5 feet Ganapati idol outside their flat.

Satish Honawar, the flat owner at Flower Valley Co-operative Housing Society, expressed his bewilderment, stating, “The 2-2.5 feet Ganapati idol has been placed outside our flat for the past 21 years and is made of paper. I served as the Chairman of the society from 2016 to 2019 but resigned due to health issues. A new committee was formed subsequently, which introduced new rules. Consequently, we have been facing this issue for the past four years.”

He added, “We reside on the top floor, and no one else has raised any concerns about the idol. It is beyond my comprehension as to why the society has taken offence. I firmly believe that this is not an encroachment. Therefore, we approached the co-operative court and presented our case. The hearing is scheduled for August 3. As senior citizens, we do not wish to harass anyone, and regardless of the outcome, we will not move the idol from its current location.”

According to available information, Satish and Sandhya Honawar, after purchasing a flat at Flower Valley Co-operative Housing Society in 2002, placed the idol of Lord Ganesha in the corner outside their house as a place of worship. In 2019, following Satish Honawar’s resignation as the chairman, a new committee was formed, and new rules were implemented. Violators would be fined five times the monthly maintenance charge. Consequently, the elderly couple has been fined Rs 5 lakh 62 thousand, which represents the accumulated penalty over the past four years, as this rule was not in place before 2019.

Kalyan Raman, the Secretary of Flower Valley Society, defended the society’s action, stating, “The issue of the Ganesh Idol placed in the common lobby area by a member has been blown out of proportion. It is merely a response by society against encroachments in common areas. We have a total of 331 units (287 flats) in our society, housing around 1200 residents. According to the by-laws of Co-op Housing Societies, common lobby areas belong to all members of the society, and no individual can use them for personal purposes.”

Digambar Hausare, Deputy Registrar, Pune 40 area, confirmed the society’s communication, stating, “The Flower Valley Society has informed us via letter about the encroachment in the lobby area. However, there was no mention of installing an idol of Lord Ganesha. The case is currently ongoing in the cooperative court, with the next hearing scheduled for August.”

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