Pune, July 22 (IANS) With her earlier choice of post-retirement home mired in controversy, President Pratibha Patil, whose term ends July 24, will now settle down in a consideably smaller bungalow in this city, popularly known as Maharashtra's pensioners' paradise.
The house is however not yet ready and she will temporarily move to a bungalow at 2 Tughlaq Lane in New Delhi before shifting to Pune.
Raigad, a bungalow on the busy Pashan Road located between a school and a law college, is currently occupied by the Superindent of Police (Pune Wireless Division) P.P. Sharma, who retired earlier this year. Pune Collector Vikas Deshmukh said that although the state government had given the go ahead to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which will refurbish the bungalow, the department is yet to revert.
We had received a request from the CPWD regarding Raigad as Patil's post-retirement residence. We had given a go ahead from our side but have not heard back from the CPWD, Deshmukh told IANS.
Sharma will soon vacate the bungalow, following which it will be handed over to the CPWD, Deshmukh said.
The bungalow is built over 2,500 sq ft on a one-acre plot. Patil had earlier selected a five-acre plot belonging to the defence forces but gave it up following a controversy.
This had broken in April, when Suresh Patil, a retired lieutenant colonel of the Pune-based Justice for Jawan, a part of the NGO Green Thumb group, released details of plans to house Patil on a 260,000 square foot plot, saying it belonged to war widows.
The house allotted to her now is reportedly within the specifications of the President's Emoluments and Pensions Act.
Earlier this month, a central government official had confirmed that the Raigad bungalow had been requested for Patil's retirement home. He had also said that once the house was handed over to the Directorate of Estates, which comes under the central urban development ministry, it would be refurbished by the CPWD.
Patil has previously held various positions starting from being a member of the Maharashtra assembly from the Jalgaon constituency in 1962 to becoming a Rajya Sabha member between 1985 and 1990. In 1991, she was elected to the Lok Sabha from Amravati. She is well versed with most districts in Maharashtra.
She had stayed in Jalgaon and Amravati during most parts of her stint as a parliamentarian and now it will be the calm and relaxed city of Pune that will become her home.
(Mauli Buch can be contacted at email@example.com)