Army takes cognizance of construction by ex-Minister near ammunition depot

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, May 10: Exposing illegitimate deeds of a senior BJP leader, who was dropped from the State Cabinet in the recent reshuffle, the Army authorities are learnt to have taken cognizance of the illegal construction of a building by this former Minister near Ammunition Sub Depot at village Ban in tehsil Nagrota of district Jammu.
Reminding the former Minister that construction activity near the ammunition depot is prohibited, the Army authorities have termed the building under construction as a potential security hazard and sought stoppage of the work, which is allegedly going on despite the objections raised against the same.
In this regard, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Nagrota Corps has shot a letter, addressed to then Minister and also forwarding a  copy of  it  to  the chief of the Northern Command,  explaining violation of  Works of Defence Act 1903 at village Ban in the vicinity of 4 Ammunition Sub Depot (4ASD and  erstwhile 2201 Ammunition Point).
The construction activity, being taken place  approximately 530 meters (580 yards) from the outer wall of 4 Ammunition Sub Depot at village Ban, was noticed by the Army authorities on October 27, 2017 and on further inquiry, it was reliably learnt that the building under construction belongs to the former BJP Minister.
Taking cognizance of the violation of the Works of Defence Act (WoDA) 1903 as also Government of India, Ministry of Defence notification vide SRO 203, dated September 26, 2002 and notification number 2772/DCJ/LHS/GN-Ban/Army/01/2015-968/13, issued by DC Jammu on August 7, 2015, the GOC 16 Corps, Lt Gen  Saranjeet Singh wrote a letter to this former BJP Minister and also forwarded a copy of this communiqué  to the GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt Gen Anbu, apprising them about the offence.
The Excelsior is in possession of this letter,  number PC-3451/4ASD/WoDA/Q3H, dated 19-03-2018, according to which the ongoing construction has implications on the security  of a major ammunition storage facility as well as safety of all personnel living in close vicinity of the subject Ammunition Depot.
Observing that efforts made by the Army with Civil Administration and Police authorities to prevent violation of  orders of Government of India, Ministry of Defence have not yielded results, the GOC, in his letter,  has `requested’   the highly influential former Minister to reconsider construction of this residential  accommodation in close proximity of the ammunition depot.
According to the sources, the plot on which illegal construction was being carried out ,  originally belonged to a Chartered Accountant cum businessman, who owns a huge chunk of land in the area. However, because of  prohibition on the construction activities there, this land has no buyers.
This CA allegedly struck a deal with  the then Cabinet Minister and promised to gift him palatial accommodation on a piece of land in the area if the later facilitates relaxation of rules for construction near the Ammunition Depot.
After striking the deal, sources said that this former Minister along with another senior BJP leader called on  Minister for Defence Nirmla Sitaraman and claimed that she had assured to look into the matter.
Being in power at that time and confident of getting the rules relaxed, this former BJP Minister  got the piece of land transferred and construction work was also started there  following which the Army authorities registered objections against the same.