House for Patil violates rules?
A post-retirement accommodation for president Pratibha Patil coming up in Khadki locality of Pune is allegedly far bigger than what the rules allow, a media report has said on the basis of an RTI query.
According to the president’s pension rules of 1952, a former president of India is entitled to live in a house measuring not more than 4,498 sq ft, but instead land measuring 2,61,000 sq ft has been allotted for Patil’s house in Pune.
Justice for Jawans (JFJ) RTI activist Anup Awasthi and the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) found the disturbing fact via an RTI query, the Daily News and Analysis said in a report on Thursday.
According to the reply to the RTI requisition sent to the President of India’s Office, the President’s Emoluments and Pension Act, 1951, and the rules framed there under President’s Pension Rule, 1962, govern these matters.
As per the rules, “A place where government owned accommodation is allotted to a retired president, the size of the residence shall be comparable to a residence allotted to a minister in the union council of ministers and if the highest type of government residence available at a particular place is less in size than a residence allotted to a minister in the union council of ministers, the highest type of accommodation available at that place shall be allotted to the ex-president. At present, a minister is entitled to a plinth area of 4,498 sq ft bungalow.”
The RTI reply further states, “where suitable government residence is not available for allotment to a retired president, the size of the residence to be taken on lease to be provided to a retired president shall have a living area not exceeding 2,000 sq ft.”
Col (retd) Suresh Patil of JFJ had written a letter on September 14 to the president inquiring about the possession of the property in Khadki to which the reply received said that the land is on lease and will remain the property of Defence Estates.
According to the reply sent by the president’s secretariat and published in DNA, “The old grant property is a defence land given on lease and the lease has expired. It was resumed by the defence estate officer after following the due procedure for use of residential premises for the president on her retirement as per the entitlement of a former president of India.”
Suresh Patil and his associates even objected to even the ongoing construction on the land. “Why are new constructions carried out in the land when there is adequate government accommodation already available in the cantonments? These constructions are illegal which has also resulted to the felling of trees in the area without the permission of the forest department,” Awasthi said.
IESM Maharashtra convenor Ravindra Pathak has suggested that part of this land should
be allotted to the war widows and the rest to build an old-age home.
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