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‘Be vigilant against defence land encroachments’

Defence Minister AK Antony has asked officials to remain vigilant against encroachment of defence lands.



New Delhi: In the backdrop of Adarsh and
Sukna scams, Defence Minister AK Antony has asked officials
to remain vigilant against encroachment of defence lands and
stressed that the first land audit will go a long way in
"tightening the control system".

Releasing a compact disc containing data base of the
17 lakh acres of land under the Ministry, he directed the
Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE) to immediately
conduct a reality check on ground to determine the status of
land all over the country.

"While ensuring that defence lands are protected from
unauthorised occupation or illegal claims, it is also your
responsibility to ensure that no public land is occupied in an
unauthorised manner without following due procedures," he told
the officers at a function here on Wednesday evening.

On the audit of land under it, he said, "It will go a
long way in tightening our land management control system."

A Parliamentary Standing Committee had also raised
questions over the lack of audit of defence land across the
country.

The land audit will cover issues including updation of
land records; survey, demarcation and protection of defence
lands by way of erection of boundary pillars and telling the
records with actual ground situation; efficient usage of
defence lands; encroachment on defence lands, the extent and
reasons thereof, effectiveness of encroachment and removal
actions.

The audit will also verify the usage of defence lands
on a lease to institutions.

In the first phase, DGDE will carry out land audit in
the Southern Command in this financial year.

The Minister said officials should pursue
"vigorously" title disputes in courts with all sincerity.

"Land is a precious and rare commodity, title disputes in
courts must be vigorously pursued to the correct and logical
conclusion," he was quoted as saying in a release today.

Antony said the Ministry has taken a decision to
guard strategically located installations such as defence
lands, camping grounds and old airfields by nearby military
units.

"In cases where this may not be possible, sufficient
resources would be placed with the Defence DGDE to look after
them," he said.

Antony said two projects have been approved by the
Ministry under which modern surveying technology in defence
estates will be introduced to complete the work of survey in
all defence lands in a phased manner.

"The second project is for computerisation to scan,
index and microfilming all defence land title related records.

"This project would make all documents pertaining to
land title easily retrievable and facilitate their
preservation," he said.

The Minister said an archival unit and resource
centre would be established at Raksha Sampda Bhawan.

PTI

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