NEW DELHI: After discontinuing free rations for army officers, the central government has now banned military farms, which were part and parcel of cantonment life for over a century.
Cabinet Committee’s decision on the closure of 39 military farms within in a period of three months came after repeated complaints of corruption in the system.
The government believes that the military farms—which rear around 23,600 livestock with an annual production of over 335 lakh kg of milk, vegetables, fodder and fertilisers under an annual budget of over Rs 400 crore—are no longer needed due to widespread availability of milk, vegetables, and other products in the open civilian market.
“With rapid grown of urbanisation, cantonments are no longer isolated and everything is available in the open market. So military farms became irrelevant,” said an officer.
Conceived by the British in 1889, the farms are spread over 20,126 acres in Ahmednagar, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Secunderabad, Mhow, Jhansi, Dimapur, Guwahati, Jorhat, Panagarh, Kolkata, Ambala, Jalandhar, Agra, Pathankot, Allahabad, Lucknow, Meerut, Kanpur, Ranikhet, Jammu, Srinagar, Kargil and Udhampur, among others.
The decision will see nearly 2,000 Army personnel transferred to other wings.