New Delhi: Amid demands to relax restrictions over the use of land near military establishments and ammunition depots, the Defence Ministry is planning to amend a 109 year-old law in this regard.
During the meeting of the consultative committee of the Defence Ministry, Defence Minister A K Antony said the "government has decided that all depots will be modernized and brought on par with the best practices being followed in some of the advanced countries of the world."
Noting that the Ministry has started the process of bringing about amendments to The Works of Defence Act, 1903 to accommodate the needs of the changing times, the Defence Minister said, "All stakeholders will be consulted and the process will be completed at the earliest."
The Act provides for imposing restrictions on use of land in the vicinity of `Works of Defence` so that such land may be kept free from buildings and other obstructions.
"During the meeting, cutting across party lines, MPs strongly put across the view that the Act of 1903 is proving to be a painful one for those civilians living close to defence depots because of its stringent and restrictive provisions," a defence Ministry spokesperson said.
Agreeing with the concerns expressed by the MPs, Antony said the government is taking a number of measures to address the issues surrounding the Act.
He said the problem is historical in nature as defence establishments, especially depots, were set up over a century ago in deep jungles or vacant lands far away from human habitations.
MPs who attended the meeting included Ram Chandra Khuntia, Ishwarlal Jain, Piyush Goyal, Manish Tewari, Harsh Vardhan, Kailkesh N. Singh Deo, Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, Shivanand Tiwari and Janardhan Waghmare.