Controversial plot to be used by Army

Pune: The building under construction on the defence land here, which originally was meant to be the post-retirement residence of President Pratibha Patil, before being surrounded by a controversy, would be put to "suitable alternative use" of the army, a defence official said.

"It is not a disputed land. It is Army land. We are working on a suitable alternative use of the building whose construction will continue," Southern Command administration officer Maj Gen S K Yadav said in an interaction with reporters last night. The sprawling plot of land and the building under construction was caught in a controversy after an organisation of ex-servicemen objected to it saying that the allotment was in violation of the norms of entitlement to a former President.

The land can also be utilised to offer housing to the deprived widows of servicemen, it was argued. Patil subsequently announced her decision to forgo the proposed bungalow, changing her plan to settle down in the city. Maj Gen Yadav said a decision on the use of the building would be taken by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), which had sanctioned about Rs five crore for the project.