Cannot remove encroachments on 11179 acres of defence land: Ministry to PAC

NEW DELHI, Sept 16: The Defence Ministry has expressed its inability to remove unauthorised encroachments on 11,179 acres of its land, in a submission before Parliament’s audit watchdog Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
According to details shared by the ministry with the parliamentary panel, defence land measuring about 11,179 acres was encroached upon till October 2015.
Expressing concern over encroachment of defence land, the panel in a draft report said, “What is even more disturbing for the committee to note in the ministry’s submission that these encroachments cannot be removed and have to be regularised.”
Rather than helping in removing the encroachments, the PAC said, this attitude of the ministry will provoke the encroachers to augment their demand for regularisation.
The Ministry should set up an inquiry to detect all encroachments and prohibit activities and take stringent remedial action to prevent misuses of defence land, the panel recommended in its draft report on ‘Defence Estates Management’.
It further suggested that the ministry should take up this matter with the respective state and local governments in whose jurisdiction, the land is encroached.
Strongly criticising the management of leases of defence land, the panel said it is in “dismal state” and noted that as of March 2010, 2,500 acres of land valuing Rs 11,033 crore was on lease for an annual rent of Rs 2.13 crore, which was “pittance” considering the market value of land.
“Shockingly, no visible efforts had been made to renew 3,780 cases of lease renewal, in 1,800 cases no requests were received for lease renewal and in 1,081 cases the status of leases was unknown,” it underlined while suggesting the government to bring out a policy for defence land leasing within six months. (PTI)


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