Sukna, Adarsh scams put armed forces in "bad" light: Antony

Noting that land scams such as Sukna and Adarsh Society have projected armed forces in a "bad" light, Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday said.

Updated: Feb 02, 2011, 21:47 PM IST

New Delhi: Noting that land scams such as
Sukna and Adarsh Society have projected armed forces in a
"bad" light, Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday said policies
would be framed to bar local military authorities from
directly issuing `no objection certificates` to private
realtors.
Addressing a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative
Committee, he said the scams have exposed the "gaps" in the
defence land management system and their records will be
computerised.

"The Defence Ministry will shortly be framing policies
covering the issue of NOCs... No NOC would be issued,
especially to private builders directly by the Local Military
Authorities (LMAs)," he said.

The recent Sukna, Kandivali and Adarsh land scams
related to issuing of NOCs by local military commanders to
private realtors and have led the ministry to change its
policies for granting permission for construction on defence
land or in areas adjacent to military stations.

The Defence Minister, who maintained that the land
scams have projected the armed forces in "bad" light, said a
policy is also being framed for cases where the local laws
require consultation with local military authorities for
construction of buildings on lands adjacent to defence
installations.

Antony said the Works of Defence Act, which provides
for restrictions on building activity around defence
installations, would be amended to make it relevant to present
day situations.

"The Act has not been amended for the last over 100
years. The government is also looking at the de-hiring policy
to avert any misuse," he said.
The minister said after the scams, the ministry is
giving top priority to computerisation of the records of the
17 lakh acres of land under it as "without computerisation, it
will be difficult to manage our vast land records."

He said a number of decisions have been taken by the
ministry regarding land management and proper storage of
important title-related records.

Elaborating on the difficulties in defence land
management, Antony said under the Constitution of India, land
is a state subject and if for a particular piece of land the
ownership records tally both in ministry records and state
records, there is no problem.

"But in some instances, this is not so. Moreover,
vested interests lose no time in exploiting gaps in the
system," he said.

After the scams surfaced, the Army had to change its
policy for issuing NOCs and had made it mandatory for LMAs to
seek permission from their superior authorities before
granting any permission.

In the meeting, the parliamentarians suggested that
the Defence Ministry should physically survey the land under
its control besides undertaking computerisation of records.

MPs Murli Manohar Joshi, Manish Tiwari, Gajanan
Dharmshi Babar, Shivaji Adhalrao Patil, Brij Bhushan Sharan
Singh, Kailkesh N Singhdeo, Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, Gopal
Singh Shekhawat, Shivanand Tiwari and Janardhan Waghmare
attended the meeting.

Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju, Defence
Secretary Pradeep Kumar, DRDO chief V K Saraswat and Director
General Defence Estates Ashok Harnal were also present.

PTI