To protest against trees being cut on the premises of President Pratibha Patil’s proposed retirement home in Khadki, ex-servicemen and environmentalists from the city will commence a signature campaign under the banners of Justice for Jawans and the Green Thumb Environmental Group.

The forums are also demanding that the land be used for ex-servicemen only.

Lt Col (Retd) Suresh Patil, chief trustee of both forums, condemned the act of massive tree cutting inside the premises.

“My estimation is that 12 to 15 big trees were hacked and this is against the norms set by the Tree Act of 1975. We are already in touch with the Khadki Cantonment Estate Office and had made an inquiry and also filed an RTI,” he said.

Lt Col Patil added that Green Thumb Environmental Group is working for the protection of the environment.

“To create awareness among the citizens against this act, we are commencing a signature campaign before the collectors office on Monday (April 25),” he said.

Anup Avasthi, an RTI activist who is with Lt Col Patil said, “Our cause is to get the land for injured jawans and widows of martyrs. The land is only for needy defence people.”

The campaign is getting support from environmentalist and tree lovers from across the city.

Tree lovers Vinod Jain and Vaibhav Gandhi support Patil.

“It is unfortunate that a large number of trees were hacked in Khadki for constructing a house for the President. We have also sent a query to the Khadki Cantonment Board seeking details about how many trees were hacked in the land where the President’s proposed retirement home is to be constructed,” Jain said.