Patliputra Colony — arguably the best example of “self- governance” in the city — is no one’s baby. It is neither a part of any urban body nor does it belong to any panchayat.
The 56-year-old upscale colony is very much in the Patna town area. But to maintain its “sovereignty”, its residents have been reluctant in becoming a part of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC). The Patliputra Co-operative Society is not a part of neighbouring Kurji or Mainpura panchayats either.
All civic matters related to the society are solely looked after by its co-operative society. Of late, issues like waterlogging, poor waste management and streetlight maintenance, and lack of fogging have compelled some residents to consider the option of becoming a part of PMC.
“Earlier, most of the residents were opposed to the inclusion of the colony in PMC. But of late some of them changed their stand because of rapid and unregulated development of neighbouring colonies like Gosai Tola and Manpura among others over the past couple of years, triggering civic issues like waterlogging in the area. Majority of the members of the co-operative are now in favour of the inclusion of the colony in PMC,” said lawyer Vivek Prasad, a member of Patliputra Co-operative Society.
Patna High Court had asked the state urban development and housing department last week to explain why Patliputra Colony was not a part of PMC.
The issue came up during the hearing of the famous Narendra Mishra case against mushrooming of illegal buildings. The department would clarify its stand on Thursday.
The Patliputra Cooperative Society was registered in 1953. Around 500 houses have been constructed over 320 plots. Several influential people, including Khagaria MP Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser and former social welfare minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Parveen Amanullah, have their bungalows here.
The co-operative residents did not have to face the waterlogging problem initially. The water drained out easily because the neighbouring localities were sparsely populated.
The nearby areas became densely populated with passage of time, putting additional burden on drains. The excess drain water now frequently floods the locality, prompting murmur among some residents for the inclusion of the colony in PMC limits.
“Patliputra Colony is a low-lying area as compared to Kurji and Mainpur. The excess rainwater from these areas comes to this colony, leading to heavy waterlogging. Also, a large volume of the waste water from this colony is discharged into Nehru Nagar Nalah under the jurisdiction PMC. Against this backdrop, it would be fair if the colony is included in PMC but there should be some sops for the co-operative society in lieu of surrendering the civic facilities developed by it,” said Akhouri B. Prasad, the owner of house number 158 in Patliputra Colony.
The chairman of the co-operative society, P.K. Verma, differed. “Patliputra is not the only place in Patna, which gets waterlogged. Numerous other areas face similar problem. We have been taking care of our colony comfortably and we don't want it to be included in PMC.” Patliputra Co-operative Society has two pumping stations of 40HP. But they are considered inadequate during heavy rainfall.
A.K. Singh, a member Patliputra Co-operative Society, echoed Verma. “We have been taking care of our civic services, including water supply, drainage, sewage and waste management, comfortably. There are 18 parks in the colony and we maintain all of them. Testing of the drinking water is conducted once in every two months.”
Singh, a former secretary of the co-operative society, said: “We do not want to become a part of PMC because it would not provide us the quality service as being provided by the co-operative society.”
Madan Mohan, the chairman of the legal committee of Patliputra Cooperative Society, claimed that the co-operative had initially requested the state government to provide municipal services. “It was only after the denial of the state government to provide the services that we developed all civic infrastructure and services at our own cost,” said Madan.
Lawyer Prasad said the residents of the colony pay the holding tax under the head of municipal taxes to the co-operative society.
During official expansion of the then Patna town area in 1967, the state government had issued a notification to include Patliputra Colony and some other areas under the ambit of erstwhile Patna Improvement Trust (now PMC). Soon after the notification was issued, Patliputra Co-operative Society filed a title suit in Patna civil court in August 1967, challenging the notification.
On July 17, 1995, the lower court ordered inclusion of Patliputra Co-operative Society in PMC. The court also directed payment of a compensation amount of Rs 17 lakh by PMC to the society, as landowners of the colony had provided land for setting up parks and community centre. But the co-operative society again filed a title appeal in the court of additional district judge (ADJ), challenging the lower court the judgment in August 1995. The ADJ imposed status quo on the judgment issued by the lower court.