Over 12,000 acres of defence land under encroachment


New Delhi : Over 12,000 acres of defence land all over the country is under encroachment, and close to half of total lands occupied by squatters are in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, parliament was informed Wednesday.

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Defence Minister A.K. Antony, in a written reply to questions in the Rajya Sabha, said Uttar Pradesh accounted for about 3,080 acres of encroachment, while Maharashtra accounted for nearly 2,500 acres of encroachment.

Maharashtra had been hit by the Adarsh Housing Society scam about a year ago when the names of top generals and admirals such as former chiefs Deepak Kapoor, N.C. Vij and Madhavendra Singh came up for having got flats allotted in the 31-storey building that came up on an army-held land close to a naval base in Mumbai’s Colaba area.

Only smaller states and union territories such as Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Pondichery, the Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Dadara and Nagar Haveli, and Chandigarh were free of encroachments as per the list provided by Antony to the Rajya Sabha.

To another question, Antony said the Defence Estates Office in Srinagar had issued no objection certificates with regard to land under defence’s control.

After preliminary probe, it was found that prima facie, there have been irregularities in the issue of the certificate and hence to get the matter thoroughly investigated and to fix responsibility, the government had asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to enquire into the matter.