NoCs to private builders brought `bad name` to Ministry: Antony

Defence Minister AK Antony said issuing of certain No Objection Certificates to private builders have brought a "bad name" to the Ministry.

Last Updated: May 04, 2011, 19:18 PM IST

New Delhi: In the backdrop of scams like
Sukna and Adarsh, Defence Minister A K Antony today said
issuing of certain No Objection Certificates (NoCs) to private
builders have brought a "bad name" to the Ministry.

The Defence Minister also announced that the survey of
all the 17 lakh acres of land under the Ministry would be
completed in the next three years and and all their records
would be digitised.

"A few NoCs issued in the past by certain local
authorities have earned us a bad name... This must be avoided.

All vacant pieces of Defence Land would be constantly
monitored to avert encroachment," the Defence Minister said in
his address to the CEOs of the 62 Cantonment Boards.

The Minister`s speech was read out in absentia as he
could not attend the function due to indisposition, Defence
Ministry officials said here.

In the recent scams, it has come to light that the
local military authorities had issued NOCs to private builders
for construction on defence land or sites adjacent to them
without following due procedures.

The Ministry has also withdrawn the rights of issuing
NoCs from the local military authorities in any particular
area.

Antony said the procedures related to the issuing of
NoCs would be done strictly as per the laid down rules.

"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,"
he added.

Antony said two important projects were there for
efficient management of defence estates, which includes one
for introduction of modern survey technology in defence
estates and survey of all defence land in next three years.

The Ministry, he said, was also working on the
"digitisation and indexing" of defence land records across the
country.

Antony said a computerisation project to scan, index
and microfilm all defence land-title related records has been
sanctioned by the Ministry.

"This is an important project to make land-title
related documents easily retrievable as also preserve them for
future years," he added.

The Defence Minister said land audit was initiated on
basis of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing
Committee on Defence.

Antony cautioned the CEOs that land audit should not
be reduced to just being a fault-finding exercise by one
department or another saying, "the intention is to control and
monitor adherence to laid down procedures and strengthen the
overall land management system."

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for
Defence M M Pallam Raju said laws have been amended to give
cantonment boards the status of deemed municipal bodies.

"Defence Ministry 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," he said.

"Though the Ministry of Urban Development has 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 resolved," the
Minister added.

Defence Ministry`s Special Secretary Shekhar Agarwal
said two circulars on ceding of defence land and granting of
NoC for defence and adjoining lands would be issued later this
week, which would streamline the procedures and plug
loopholes.

PTI