Prez to decide where to settle post-retirement

On board special aircraft: Having returned the house alloted to her in Pune after controversy surrounding the land, President Pratibha Patil is yet to decide where to settle down post-retirement.

"You will be intimated after it is decided," she told reporters accompanying her on her tour to South Africa and Seychelles. She was asked as to what would be her postal address after she leaves Rashtrapati Bhavan at the end of her term on July 25.

A controversy had broken recently when Suresh Patil, a retired Lt Col of the Pune-based `Justice for Jawan`, part of the NGO `Green Thumb` group, released details on government`s plan to give President Patil housing in Pune over a large extent of land measuring 2.6 lakh sq feet.

He had claimed that a house with a plinth area of 4,500 sq feet is being built for the President by bringing down two British era county bungalows. However, Rashtrapati Bhavan maintained that there has been no wrong doing or violation of rules. All rules were being strictly adhered to for a post-retirement house for a President.

Under rules, a former President is entitled to a furnished bungalow anywhere in India of his or her choice. In places where government accommodation is available, it should be comparable to the highest type of residence available to the Union Ministers.

Stung by the controversy, Patil had on April 27 announced her decision to forego the accommodation allotted to her as post-retirement home in Pune. "…considering the fact that the issue has got linked with the issue of war widows accommodation by some people, the President has chosen to forego the aforesaid allotment of accommodation proposed to be made to her as her post-retirement home in Pune," the Rashtrapati Bhavan had said in a statement.

"Hope this will put an end to all misgivings in this regard," the statement had said seeking to bring to an end the controversy over the land that was to be her home in Khadki cantonment in Pune.