Anna takes up Khadki land issue

Activist promises to join fight to get back land for those injured in war or jawans' widows; ex-servicemen say issue will reach logical conclusion soon 

Being an ex-serviceman himself, anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare yesterday promised the ex-servicemen that he would join the fight to get back the Khadki land, which has been allotted to President Pratibha Patil for her retirement home. 

For a cause: Lt Col Suresh Patil hands over the information about 
Khadki land to Anna Hazare in Ralegansiddhi. Pic/Krunal Gosavi 

Lt Col Suresh Patil (Retd), managing trustee of Green Thumb Environmental Group, had long discussions with Hazare at Ralegansiddhi yesterday morning. Patil told Hazare about their agitation since September 2011.
Patil said, "Anna has completely agreed with the cause and is officially backing us." He added that the land should be given either to the war casualties or widows of the jawans. Patil was accompanied by the state head of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement Commander Ravi Pathak, trustee of Green Thumb Environmental Group Jahangir Mulla and a member of Justice for Jawans Prakash Sawant.

Patil said that Hazare had agreed that over 60,000 ex-servicemen in the district were living in bad conditions, while many were living in slums. "Being the head of all defence services of the country, President Patil should set an example by not using the land for her personal benefit. Anna has agreed to these points and is wholeheartedly backing this cause," Patil added.

According to Patil, Hazare is one of the trustees of Green Thumb Environmental Group and was attending some of its programs since the past 20 years. "Anna's support has given us a morale boost and the fight to get back the Khadki land shall reach to its logical conclusion, soon he added.

Anna Hazare on Saturday had said that the 75 per cent of the taxpayers' money was being spent on a purchasing new cars and sophisticated air-conditioning equipment. "This is a total waste and government should stop the misuse of the tax-payers money," he had added.

Referring to Hazare's statement, Sawant said, "If the same is happening with the President's post, we demand that the post come under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal Bill. We are not against the President madam or her wish to possess a retiring home. In fact, the state government should give her land at any hill station in Lonawala, Khandala, Mahableshwar or Matheran." 

Appeal to President
The Green Thumb Environmental Group submitted a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil on December 2, appealing to donate the Khadki land to the army widows or the Jawans injured in the war. "I am expecting an invitation from the President to discuss the issue in Delhi," Lt Col Patil said.  

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