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National Defence Academy wary of security threat from illegal shops


Pune : Premier tri-services training institution National Defence Academy (NDA) here has locked horns with Pune’s civic agency over alleged lax action against illegal commercial constructions close to its campus that could pose a security threat.

The situation has reached such alarming proportions that the NDA has sought the help of police to severely restrict movements of all unauthorised vehicles on the approach road to the academy on which the illegal shops have come up, an official said Wednesday.

“Until the issue of illegal constructions on NDA Road is resolved, barring the bonafide residents of this area, we have been compelled to restrict movement of all other vehicles and pedestrians with the help of police,” the official said.

The land for construction of the NDA Road, from Pune University to the academy, was acquired by the erstwhile Bombay state government in 1949.

It was constructed by the defence authorities and handed over to the NDA Aug 25, 1968.

The road was maintained by the Garrison Engineer, Khadakwasla, for the use of the NDA and Military Engineering Services over the past six decades, the official said.

“The development of the NDA Road is governed by the Development Control Regulations of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which do not permit any commercial activity here for security and ecological reasons,” the official told IANS.

Despite this, more than half a dozen restaurants, pubs, hotels, resorts and other commercial structures have come up on the NDA Road, violating PMC norms, in the past decade.

“The NDA has not given permission to any of these erring establishments and we consider them illegal. Lack of stringent enforcement of existing rules has led to the rampant and blatant misuse of land around the NDA by vested elements,” the official said.

The official pointed out that in recent years, the unchecked proliferation of such commercial establishments had started attracting large crowds on the NDA Road.

He said it was impossible to keep tabs on the antecedents of the people who frequented these places. The commercial units offered anti-national elements an opportunity to exploit the unchecked access to the sensitive installation.

The matter was taken up vigorously after the 2010 German Bakery blast in Pune which left 17 dead, including four foreigners, and another 65 injured.

The NDA authorities have approached the PMC and also the district collector, but to no avail, the official said.

The NDA officials have sought a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to apprise him of the security concerns, but the latter’s office has not responded so far, he said.

The NDA is spread over 8,000 acres of lush green land and houses nearly 15,000 people, including staff and students.