No tolerance to wrongdoing, DGDE to be strengthened: Raju

Last Updated: Thursday, November 25, 2010 - 18:06

New Delhi: Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju Thursday said the government will not tolerate any corruption in any department and said his ministry was considering strengthening the defence estates wing, which has
come under scanner over land scam in the recent months.

Contradicting his senior Minister`s assertion that the
Defence Ministry will study the possibility of dismantling of
the defence estates wing, Raju said the government would
strengthen it, as it was "essential" to safeguard the large
land-holdings of the armed forces.

"I think there will be no tolerance for any wrongdoing in
any department, leave alone the Directorate General of Defence
Estates (DGDE)," he told reporters on the sidelines of a
CII-sponsored seminar on Naval Armament here.

He was replying to a query on the scams such as the
Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai involving the DGDE that has
come out in the recent times and if the government was mulling
disbanding of the DGDE.

"The Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) has
given some observations on the functioning of the DGDE and has
given some recommendations. DGDE is an essential department,
which is safeguarding 17.3 lakh acres of land of the armed
forces. It needs to be strengthened.

"We will take into cognisance all the recommendations and
try to improve the functioning of the DGDE. It (study on
disbanding DGDE) was wrongly reported in the media today," he
added.

He said the CDGA had not recommended disbanding of the
DGDE, but had only suggested that instead of involving the
DGDE in land acquisitions, the forces and services should
directly do the acquisitions.

To improve the functioning of the DGDE, Raju said, the
Ministry had now initiated the process of computerising the
land records and registration documents.
Antony, in a written reply to members` questions on DGDE,
told the Rajya Sabha yesterday that "keeping in view the
limited utility of the DGDE, the Defence Ministry may like to
order a comprehensive study for disbanding this organisation
from most of the activities from defence land management in a
phased manner."

Antony had said that agencies such as DRDO and the
Ordnance Factory Board may be authorised to deal directly with
state governments for expediting the land acquisition process.
"Elimination of additional layer of DGDE from defence
land acquisition process shall speed up the acquisition
process and is expected to eliminate time and cost over-runs
both for land and infrastructure on this," he had said.

The recommendations were made to the government by the
CGDA after they carried out a special performance audit to
identify the bottlenecks in land acquisition process, which
result in delays.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, November 25, 2010 - 18:06

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