Wednesday, May 4, 2011

MoD Initiates Slew of Steps to Audit Defence land

MoD Initiates Slew of Steps to Audit Defence land
The Ministry of Defence has initiated several steps to audit the vast land holdings held by the 62 Cantonments and the Defence Estates. Announcing the measures at the first Performance Appraisal Conference of the Chief Executive Officers of the Cantonment Boards here today, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony said the procedure related to issue of No Objection Certificate for Defence Land would be done strictly according to laid down policy. Shri Antony’s speech was read out in-absentia as he could not attend the function due to indisposition.

Observing that “a few NoCs issued in the past by certain local authorities have earned us a bad name,” Shri Antony said this must be avoided. He declared that all vacant pieces of Defence Land would be constantly monitored to avert encroachment.

“In order to protect vacant pieces of Defence Lands, Camping Grounds and abandoned airfields, it has been decided that they would be guarded by nearby military units and when this was not possible sufficient manpower resources would be placed with the Defence Estates Officers to look after them.”

The Defence Minister announced two important projects for efficiently managing defence estates. “One is regarding the introduction of modern survey technology in the Defence Estates and completing of survey work of all defence land in phase-wise manner within a period of three years. The second project is that of Digitization and Indexing of Defence Land records.”

Shri Antony said that a computerization project to scan, index and microfilm all Defence Land-title related records has been sanctioned by the Defence Ministry. “This is an important project to make land-title related documents easily retrievable as also preserve them for future years.”

The Director-General of Defence Estates (DGDE) is the custodian of more than 17 lakh acres of land holdings in Cantonments and other defence estates, making it the largest land holders in the country.

Based on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, Shri Antony said that he has initiated steps for Land Audit. Cautioning that the Land Audit does not get reduced to just being a fault-finding exercise by one Department of another, he said that “the intention is to control and monitor adherence to laid down procedures and strengthen the overall land management system.”

Pointing out that the Cantonment Boards have to keep pace with the rapid infrastructure development witnessed in the adjoining municipal bodies in the metros and big cities, the Defence Minister said that the cash-starved Cantonment Boards would have to “look for alternative sources of revenue generation.”

In his address the Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju said that the law has been amended that gives Cantonment Boards the status of deemed municipal bodies. He said that the Defence Estates officials must give priority to get the Cantonment Boards included in the funding earmarked for the municipal committees.

“Ministry of Defence has also been working towards including the select Cantonments in the City Development Plan (CDP) of the adjoining cities which are covered under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. Though the Ministry of Urban Development have agreed to include Cantonments in the CDP of the adjoining cities, the funding for the proposed infrastructure in cantonment areas has remained an issue which is yet to be resoloved.”

Speaking on the occasion Shri Shekhar Agarwal, Special Secretary, Ministry of Defence, said that two circulars on ceding of Defence Land and issue of NoC to Defence and adjoining Lands would be issued later this week, which would streamline the procedures and plug loopholes. The DGDE Shri Ashok Kumar Harnal also spoke on the occasion. PK/Suman (Release ID :71940)
MoD Initiates Slew of Steps to Audit Defence land

Comment: Leasing of Defence Lands is the source of corruption. Measures and methods adopted by Politicians and agents is to make mega bucks in connivance with the local DEO's and Military authorities. All lease deeds need to be examined and reviewed for better management of Defence Estates. All encroachers need to evicted if the intention of MOD is genuine.

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