President Pratibha Patil’s luxurious home continues to be built

The 2,42,000 sq ft of land in Pune returned by President Patil is to be ‘suitably’ used for an alternative purpose. Communication from the ministry of defence is awaited, said Southern Command officials

Although President Pratibha Patil has returned the 2,42,000 sq ft of land in Pune on which she was building her palatial post-retirement home, construction continues on the site.

Senior officials at the Southern Command headquarters said since the construction is half done, it is being allowed to be completed. Assuring that it would be used 'suitably' as per the stringent norms of A1 defence land, they also clarified that A1 land 'can' be used for residential accommodation of jawans. However, they failed to answer how the same construction meant for a palatial personalised home could be converted for accommodation of jawans, which would obviously comprise a series of small tenements.

So far, Rs5 crore have been spent by the Southern Command. The construction work comes directly under the Army Commander with MES having given the contract to private contractors (allegedly not registered with the MES). However, senior officials of the Southern Command said they are waiting for orders from the ministry of defence (MoD), for the nature of the re-use of the sprawling construction site.

When asked as to how, in the first place, the Southern Command gave permission for a civilian home on A1 land, Maj Gen SK Yadav stated that they were merely following the orders of the ministry of defence. When told that the MoD had questioned 'precedence' of such an allocation, the Defence Estate Office was mum in its reply, the officers stated that they had "raised objections" but refused to spell out anything further.

In an unprecedented and curious move, the Southern Command, after coming under storm for bending backwards to construct President Patil's palatial post-retirement home on 2,42,000 sq ft of A1 defence land, decided to hold a press conference on Tuesday to "put the records straight" on land issues including official accommodation for serving officers and jawans not only in the Pune station but the entire command comprising 10 states and three Union Territories.
 
Pune is an important military station but officers are made to wait for between six months and one year to get an official accommodation and there is a woeful lack of homes for jawans in particular. It is against this background that President Patil's retirement home came under sharp criticism, as besides the legal aspect, the question of the propriety and precedence was questioned.

Maj Gen C P Singh, in charge of logistics and operations, stated that, "to make up the overall deficiency of married accommodation with an outlay of Rs56 crore-84 officers, 27 junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and 250 other ranks (OR) houses were constructed in 2011 and with an approximate projection of Rs.95 crore, 188 officers, 60 JCOs and 300 ORs houses are in various stages of completion in Married Accommodation Project Phase II. Satisfactory levels of accommodation will increase to above 90% for all ranks on completion of second phase."

Compilation and digitalisation of land records in Southern Command is underway but they had no answer to the number of encroachments on defence land and what specific action they have taken on the 2009 Pune Defence Estate Office report of such encroachments.

Comments
mike rana
1 decade ago
no one should think that they can stop what the government is bent on doing ... thank god they are doing only this. Read history
Ghoda
1 decade ago
The house may be alloted to the kin of the President ! In India any thing can happen.
Ashok Malkani
1 decade ago
It is really heartbreaking to read of the loot that is taking place in every government organisation, be it Civil or Military.
The order of the day is " Take what you can and the Devil take the hindmost "

The incompetence and inability to govern displayed by the UPA , has created a lawless state of the nation.
The time has come to vote the UPA/Congress out, at every level.
Ravi Saraogi
1 decade ago
Maj Gen SK Yadav is certainly hiding the facts and continuation of construction of the house is only raising suspicion in mind. GOC-In-C and MOD both should let people know the facts.
J Sharotri
1 decade ago
South comd specially GOC-In-C can't get away by saying "we were following MOD Ordrs" He is not L/NK Bhup Singh to say like dat, he is an Army Cdr- in my openion unfit to hold dat rank n appntmnt wd suchc conduct and statemnent. He is spending govt(Army) money on construction of dat house. He must reveal tod public every proof of wt were his reaction/observation/orders when he received "ordrs of MOD to first give thastlasnd and subsequently construct dat house for dat women-head of Indn State, which puts my head to shame :-((((
P V Nair
1 decade ago
There is a stench in the air. Clearly some foul work is afoot. It ill behoves the army to waste the taxpayers' money on building a luxurious mansion without knowing to what perpose it would be put. Vinita Deshmukh and her band of tenacious watchdogs need to be doubly vigilant to thwart any misconceived plot to use
defencse land for any purpose other than to house defence personnel.
Gaurav Garg
1 decade ago
Really Shame On Our Indian Leaders :(
Rajnish Raj
1 decade ago
Yeh Hamara India hai ! Yahan Koi Kitney Badi post per kuy na ho parntu Sarkari Suvidha ka beza istemal karney me nahi peechey rahta hai. Niyam kanoon to Janta- Janardan ke Liyey hotey hai maha mahim - manniyo ke liyey nahi. UP ke Ex CM apney sarkari Banglow me without permission Construction karati hai .Aur Vikas Pradhikaran Set back area me Construction ke liyey Public ko notice deta hai? Hai na India Gzab ka !
Caroline
1 decade ago
Looking at the picture of the building, I am sure Mrs. Pratibha Patil Sekhawat may end up occupying the palatial house along with her entrie khandaan of children, grand-children & niece & nephews as well.

The point here is that how can the President of a country run up a bill of Rs.65 crore and above for foreign trips as well as grap land meant for the Defence. She & her family should be impeached and put behind bars for embezzlement and using her position for personal gain.

God save the nation from any future Presidents who might turn out to be like her!

Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam is the best President we ever have in the last few decades. Not only is he perfect for the post, he is down-to-earth as well as not corrupted like Mr.s Patil.

Come on Mrs. S Gandhi, act fast before the entire country will blame you for every ills in the nation.
Ratanlal Purohit
1 decade ago
I agree with previous comments supporting the author.
The RIT route takes long.
Mr Antony should clarify.
A multi story tower should take care of all pending list. The palace can be used for the mess and market for the resdency. More than 1000 accomdation can be create in this hub which may be named after the Supreme Commander to live after for ever.
B V KRISHNAN
1 decade ago
I do not think this is the end of this story. I am prepared to bet that Ms Pratibha Patil will find a way to occuppy the palatial residence once it is completed, on some pretext or the other. Utmost vigil is required from all of us to ensure that she does not outsmart us!!
Shibaji Dash
1 decade ago
Defence Minister Mr. Antony whose integrity and probity is taken as unimpeachable ought to make a statement on the issue in public interest.The President's name getting embroiled in controversy certainly does not augur well for the country.
R Srinivasan
1 decade ago
What a shame that we have people at the very top flouting all norms of decency and spending public money for personal good. Rs.5 crores spent so far for a partially-built palace. Don't people have a conscience that should dictate dharmic behaviour
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