MUMBAI: The controversy surrounding President Pratibha Patil’s retirement house in Pune took a new turn as Tripura Governor D Y Patil stepped in to broker peace with the activist objecting to the project on the defence land.
Governor Patil, hailing from Maharashtra, is likely to meet Col (retd) Suresh Patil, one of the activists, here on Tuesday.
The Governor had on Saturday called Colonel Patil and expressed his desire to meet him. Though the Governor did not mention the reason for the meeting, B D Kotkar, who is a trustee in the Governor’s education institution, turned up instead of the Governor, and spoke about the President’s retirement home.
“The Governor whom I personally knew since my stint as NCC Commander wanted to meet me. However, Kotkar, who was also acquainted to me, turned up instead of the Governor. Kotkar requested me to tone down the protest. I refused to give in as the interest of jawans was at stake,” said Colonel Patil.
He then agreed to meet the Governor on April 24.
Patil said it was ironic that the President is sending an emissary as his efforts to meet the President on the issue did not yield result two months ago.
The activists, majority of them being retired defence personnel, are against the President’s retirement home being built on a 5.2 acre land, comprising two plots, by the Defence wing. The plots housed two bungalows — a A1 type and B3 type.
“Under the pretext of minor repairs both the bungalows were razed and the two plots amalgamated for the construction of huge building for the President’s retirement home,” said Commander (retired) Ravindra Pathak.
“The Army is setting up a wrong precedent of not just giving up its land but also spending its money to construct the home for civilian as President Patil would become the day she retires,” he said.
The Tripura Raj Bhavan said the Governor was out of the state and could not be reached on his mobile.