CAG cites discrepancies in defence land records

In the backdrop of scams such as Sukna and Adarsh, the CAG said there were "large scale discrepancies" in land records which could result in further "encroachments and land grabs" on properties of the Defence Ministry.

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2011, 23:38 PM IST

New Delhi: In the backdrop of scams such
as Sukna and Adarsh, the CAG on Friday said there were "large
scale discrepancies" in land records which could result in
further "encroachments and land grabs" on properties of the
Defence Ministry.

In its report on Defence Estates Management, the
Government auditor asked the Defence Ministry to take "strict
disciplinary action" against officers "who turn a blind eye to
the illegal use of defence land for years on end" and allow it
to be misused by private builders.

"The audit found that there is no centralised record
of defence land... it indicates large scale discrepancies in
figures of A1 land as mentioned in land calculation sheets
prepared by military authorities and Defence Estate Officers
... No effort was evident to reconcile the discrepancy,"
it said.

Noting that the Defence Ministry had only one section
which was "inadequate" to deal with the vast number of cases,
CAG noticed that "lines of responsibilities and accountability
were blurred and no agency accepted responsibility."

Observing that lack of updated records has created a
situation where there is a complete lack of accountability,
the CAG said, "The computerisation of land record by DEO
showed little progress... The state of affairs is fraught with
risks of encroachment and land grab."

Noting that 14,539 acres of land was under
encroachment in 2009, the CAG said the Ministry and the DGDE
were not monitoring the progress of inspection and rendition
of certificates issued by local military authorities and DEOs,
which was leading to "fresh encroachments".

It said the Government should set up a single
independent authority with overall responsibility to manage
all defence land to overcome problems of coordination among
multiple agencies.

"The authority should function on lines of an
autonomous body and should preferably be headed by the Defence
Minister," the report recommended.

It also asked the Ministry to take away all powers of
local military authorities and DEOs to dispose of any land or
issue No Objection Certificates (NOCs) and be vested with the
Defence Land management Authority.

The Defence Ministry has already withdrawn the power
of issuing NOCs from Services officers.

The CAG said the land norms relating to defence lands
are were laid down in 1947 and are archaic and need to be
updated.

The report said huge amounts of land not mutated in
favour of the Defence Ministry and were creating problems
about ownership.

"A large part of acquired land was waiting mutation
for periods ranging from one year to over 60 years. Analysis
indicated that 0.79 lakh acres were not mutated in favour of
the Ministry," it said.

PTI