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President’s 4,498 sq ft retirement home is spread over 2 lakh sq ft

Author: Soumabha Nandi
Publication:  DNA (Daily News & Analysis)
Date: March 1, 2012
URL: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_presidents-4498-sq-ft-retirement-home-is-spread-over-2-lakh-sq-ft_1657085

Although the former president of India is entitled to live in a house admeasuring not more than 4,498 sq ft, land admeasuring 2,61,000 sq ft has been allotted for the post-retirement accommodation in Khadki of president Pratibha Patil.

Justice for Jawans (JFJ) Right to Information (RTI) activist Anup Awasthi and Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) found the facts through an RTI query.

According to the reply to the RTI requisition sent to the President of India 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 the bungalow as 4498 sq ft.”

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 earlier written a letter on September 14 to the president inquiring about the possession of the property in Khadki to which the reply received was that the land is on lease and will remain the property of Defence Estates.

According to the reply sent by the president’s secretariat, “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.”

Patil and his associates 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 said that this land should have been allotted to the war widows and to build an old age home.
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