Prez land row: RTI activists hail supporters

RTI activists hailed the media and other supporters for their cooperation which they claimed prompted Prez Patil to forego Pune accommodation.

Pune: RTI activists here on Friday hailed the media and other supporters for their cooperation which they claimed prompted President Pratibha Patil to forego accommodation here allotted to her after her retirement.

"I would like to congratulate the fourth pillar of democracy, that is the media. It is the media which gave support to the great cause of ours. We have been fighting it out for the last one year," said Lt Col (retd) Suresh Patil, who first released details of the government`s plan to give land to the President.

Following a controversy, Patil today announced her decision to give up the accommodation to be built on a 2.6 lakh sq feet of defence land. Suresh had claimed a house with a plinth area of 4,500 sq feet is being built for the President by bringing down two British era bungalows.

"It is people`s victory. I, on behalf of others, would like to thank every individual citizen who in every matter supported us in the struggle of ours to get the land from the President and give it back to the Army for use of defence personnel," said Cdr (retired) R W Pathak who was opposing the proposed accommodation since its announcement in August last.

Retired Major General Mrinal Suman hailed the President`s decision and also the media.

"I would like to congratulate Suresh Patil who took up the cause of soldiers and at the same time I must also compliment the President. She has respected the wishes of the people and given up the land. Not very many politicians would have done that. The President deserves credit for having listened to the voice of people," he said.

Suman said it (President`s decision) is "a great victory for the media and public opinion makers".

"I think it (decision) is going to be a trend-setter. Hereafter, the people will think twice before touching the defence land," he said.