MoD seeks land in lieu of area given for infra development

Ajay Banerjee 

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 25

The Ministry of Defence, which has handed over its prime land to states for infrastructure development in exchange for land of equal value elsewhere, has not received any land or compensation in lieu of that.

Around1,600 acres in Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Secunderabad and in some areas of Punjab and Tamil Nadu, among others, were allowed to be used for civil infrastructure. At market rates, the cost of the land would be more than Rs 20,000 crore. 

Since the land has been given for public good —widening national highways, building railway tracks, Metro lines, expanding airports, power sub-stations, the ministry has agreed to the ‘land exchange plan’. But, so far, the states have not allotted land to the ministry despite reminders being given to them. Local formations of defence estates have been asked to coordinate with the states, sources said.

The lands being offered in return are miles out of the cities and would be no use over the next few decades. 

Apart from the issue of getting land in lieu of the area given for infrastructure development, the land management has been lackadaisical. Around 9,980 acres of the MoD land has been encroached upon in the country.

The Ministry of Defence owns around 17 lakh acres, part of it is prime real estate as the older cantonments such as Agra, Jalandhar, Ambala, Delhi, Pune, Secunderabad, Bangalore are now in the middle of cities. To put the land holding in perspective, the state of Delhi spreads over 3.66 lakh acres and Mumbai, including its suburbs, spreads over 1.49 lakh acres.

In the past decade, computerisation of defence land records has been done under the 'Raksha Bhoomi' project undertaken by the Defence Estates Organisation in association with the NIC. Some 4 lakh files have been scanned and digitised. The digitisation of records has been made a continuing process. A survey for physical verification of defence lands is about 98.95 per cent complete outside cantonments and 100 per cent inside cantonments. 

1,600 acres   in Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Secunderabad and in some areas of Punjab and TN were allowed to be used for civil infrastructure.

9,980 acres  of the Ministry of Defence land has been encroached upon in the country, highlighting ‘lackadaisical’ land management.

The ‘land exchange plan’ for...

Widening national highways

Constructing railway tracks, Metro lines

Expanding airports

building and Expanding power sub-stations

Building flyovers, bridges

4 lakh files digitised

In the past decade, computerisation of defence land records has been done under the ‘Raksha Bhoomi’ project undertaken by the Defence Estates Organisation in association with the NIC. Some 4 lakh files have been scanned and digitised.

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