Army men rise in protest against Prez's Khadki home

Sep 26, 2011, 08:22 IST | Vivek Sabnis

Around 3,000 signatures to be sent to Delhi

Around 3,000 signatures to be sent to Delhi

The agitation against the proposed land for the President is now gaining support from former servicemen across the country. Apart from the city and Pimpri-Chinchwad, former servicemen from Delhi, Vishakhapatanam, Jabalpur, Patna and Lucknow have now joined the protest.

Write cause: Signature campaign of ex-servicemen in protest against
use of Khadki land for the President's retiring home. P
ic /Rajendra Sonar

The agitation that gained momentum on September 5 under the banner of Green Thumb Environmental Protection Group and Maji Sainik Bhrashtachar Virodhi Manch are now ready with 3,000 signatures of former army men protesting against giving Khadki land to the President for her retirement home. The signatures will be sent to Rashtrapati Bhawan on September 30.

"A delegation of ex-servicemen shall come together to submit the memorandum in Delhi," said Major Subhedar Viththal Khadge from Junnar. Major Subhedar Sampat Khopade from Bhor, ex-army havaldar, S N Nimbalkar
from Daund, Subhedar Sopan Barge from Baramati and Subhedar C M Sonawane from Purandare have agreed to
join hands and be part of the campaign.

"We are with the Green Thumb Group on this issue," said Purandare. Col Suresh Patil (Retd), managing trustee of the Green Thumb Group, said, "President Pratibha Devisingh Patil can be allotted any other land in Maharashtra. There is no reason as to why a land allotted to ex-servicemen should be taken.

Any other government land near Lonavla, Khandala and Mahabaleshwar can be given." He said the Khadki property was taken away from the rightful owner without following proper procedure. "Only a compensation of Rs 1.56 lakh was given. The market value of the land at this movement is over crores."Patil emphasised that their main issue was with corruption.

Clarification from Rashtrapati Bhawan
This has reference to the news report published in Mid Day, Pune on September 15, 2011 regarding the dispute over the proposed retirement home of the Hon'ble President on army land in Khadki. It is clarified that the land in question is Defence land given on lease and the lessee has expired. The Defence Estate Officer has resumed the leased land after following the due procedure. There was no purchase of land as mentioned in the news item. The President of India is entitled to a suitable accommodation after retirement. The said resumed land is proposed to be used for a suitable residential premise befitting the status of a former President of India. The accommodation and the land in question will continue to be the property of the Defence Estate. 
- Archana Datta, OSD, Public Relations

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