Stung by land scams, the Defence Ministry has warned its officials against any incident of omission or commission in handling army land in the country.Reviewing the functioning of Defence Estate Department, responsible for management of land, Defence Minister A K Antony asked officials to streamline the management of precious land.
“There should be no incident of omission or commission with regard to defence land. Procedures should be followed scrupulously and deviations would be totally unacceptable,” Antony said. The Defence Ministry owns large tracts of land of approximately 17.54 lakh acres, out of which approximately 1.57 lakh acres are situated within the 62 notified cantonments and about 15.96 lakh acres are outside cantonments.
In the recent past, the ministry was hit by several scams involving defence land in Sukhna and Mumbai. The ministry had taken several measures to prevent encroachments on its land. After the controversy in April last year, the Defence Ministry had decided to resume land audit including the details of encroachments on defence lands and survey for demarcation and protection of defence lands. The defence estate was also tasked to prepare a year-wise plan of land audit. During the review meeting, Antony said that land is limited, and the precious natural resource should be utilised optimally. He also expressed concern over the deteriorating conditions in cantonment areas due to financial constraints.