|Cars parked in the open space of Pataliputra Co-operative
Housing Society in front of Hotel Buddha Heritage.
Picture by Deepak Kumar
Chief minister Nitish Kumar’s cabinet colleague Parveen Amanullah and his party MLA Anant Singh are at loggerheads over alleged encroachment of an open space in a housing society in the city.
Social welfare minister Amanullah on Tuesday night lodged a written complaint with Pataliputra Co-operative Housing Society, accusing don-turned-politician Anant of encroaching upon the vacant space, an oasis amid concrete jungle. The JD(U) MLA allegedly barricaded the pitch used by kids for playing and seniors for walking.
The vacant land is in front of Anant’s hotel — Buddha Heritage. The barricaded part of it is being allegedly used as a parking lot of the hotel. Spotting the encroachment on Tuesday night, Amanullah lodged the written complaint with the society.
A resident of the area, Amanullah told The Telegraph: “I was not aware of the encroachment; I came to know about it last (Tuesday) night when I was passing through the area. Earlier, I used to see construction material lying over there. I thought they would be removed once the construction work was over. But I was shocked to see the space — ideally a park — has been encroached upon and converted into a parking space.”
She said: “Law is equal for all and nobody is above it. If anyone tries to break the law, one has to pay for that. I will not tolerate this encroachment and if needed, I will take the help of police in coming days.”
Claiming that Anant and his associates had barricaded the land, she said: “The park is there for the common people and no one can barricade it for their own benefit. It is there for the children and the people residing in that area. As soon as I came to know about the development, I visited the office of the society last (Tuesday) night and asked them to lift the barricade immediately. I also asked them to ensure the parked vehicles were removed.”
On filing an FIR with police, she said: “I have just written a complaint letter to the society. As I said, I will surely take the help of the police in coming days if needed.”
Pataliputra Co-operative Housing Society secretary A.K. Sinha said: “We have received the complaint letter from the minister last (Tuesday) night.”
When asked what action would be initiated against Anant, Sinha hung up saying: “I am in an important meeting right now.”
Anant refuted the allegation of encroachment levelled on him by the minister of his own party.
“Had I done something illegal, the housing society would have sent me a notice. So far, they have not sent any. Neither the president of the society, nor its members have sent any letter to me. I hardly care for what the minister is saying about me,” said Anant, the JD(U) MLA from Mokama.
He said: “The park is not in a good condition and we are using it for parking few vehicles. Several parks in the city are not used properly and have been converted into parking lots. Why the minister is not raising her voice against them? Why is she bothered only about this park?”
He added: “I have sought funds from Digha JD(U) MLA Poonam Devi and JD(U) MP Shivanand Tiwari for the development of the roads and the park in this area. Why would I get involved in activities like encroachment when I am interested in the development of the area?”
According to sources, the society rules prohibit commercial business in any co-operative housing society. But the residents of Pataliputra Co-operative Housing Society are allegedly afraid of saying anything against the MLA and his hotel in the residential area.
Against this backdrop, Amanullah dared to challenge Anant. But it should not come as a surprise because the bold minister is married to an IAS officer who is on central deputation at present.
Before entering into the politics, she was at forefront of the RTI movement as the convener of Bihar Right to Information Manch.
Daughter of former parliamentarian and diplomat Syed Shahabuddin, the minister said: “They (read Anant) are constructing the hotel on the pretext of promoting Buddha heritage in the Pataliputra Co-operative Housing Society. It is unfortunate that these people are insulting Lord Gautam Buddha,” said Amanullah.