Heritage Status of the Poona Club Precincts- Restoration & Preservation

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Dear President,

The Poona Club Ltd is a 131 year old Institution which is an intrinsic part of Pune's social and cultural infrastructure,and has a glorious heritage and was founded by the Who’s Who of the 1880s. Today the Poona Club is a cash rich Club with Reserves of Rs 100 Crores in Bank Deposits and has plans to undertake an expansion of more than Rs 20 Crores.

It is the humble submission of the Petitioner that the entire Precincts of the Poona Club Ltd have a Heritage Status, whereas, it is the contention of the Managing Committee that the Poona Club per se is not a Heritage Building as Only the Chandu Borde Pavillion and the United Services Library are shown on the Heritage List of the Pune Municipal Corporation. This is a flawed argument. It is like suggesting that the Shaniwar Wada is not a Heritage Building since only the Fort Walls have a Heritage Status because they exist today. The Wada was burnt down during the British occupation of it and hence we can build a Five Star Hotel on the ruins within the Wada.

Lt Col Ashok Sarkar ( Retd ), CEO and Secretary, is in possession of some old photographs which he showed me when I had met him on April 26, 2019.. Why has the Management Committee suppressed them and not approved them to be put up on the official Website of the Poona Club. Why has the Management of the Poona Club made a misleading statement on the official website in the public domain that all records, photographs, or any such reference material, etc. which would assist in reconstructing the original structure are not available, when all this while the Club has had in their possession this very vital information. Since when have they been in possession of the Club Management?

Mr. Shantibhai Sanghvi who is on the present Managing Committee has claimed in his message to me which I here quote - “Thanks dear Earlier I had a album of old photographs which I gave to the club in 1984, at time I was organizing !st Western India billiards n snooker Tournament. And today album is missing. Once again I thank you for sending rare photographs”

It is evident that there has been a concerted effort to block these photographs from surfacing in the public domain. Why the reluctance ? Has this been done to suppress this information and to mislead both the Poona Club Members and the Pune Municipal Corporation Authorities about the Heritage Status of the entire Poona Club Precincts?

The Managing Committee should:

1)    Stop all new construction work forthwith

2)    Appoint a Competent Architectural Firm as Consultants to do a thorough research about the Heritage Status of the Poona Club Precincts and how to Restore & Preserve the same

3)    Issue a White Paper on the Heritage Status of the Poona Club Precincts to all the existing members at an AGM

4)    Master Plan all the Development of the Poona Club Precincts

Yours sincerely,
Praful Talera
Member Poona Club
Membership No T 66