Nearly 12,300 acres of military land is under encroachment
Promising to stay vigilant against encroachments of defence land by states and private bodies, the Defence Minister of India had stated in the Parliament in September, 2013 that the government was putting efforts to recover the encroached land. However, the reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that the military land under encroachment has increased from 6,903 acres in 1997 to 12,300 acres in 2013. The RTI reply also revealed that in last three years only 177 acres of total encroached military land has been recovered.
The reply shows that between March, 2010 and March, 2013 not even a single acre of land was recovered in states like Gujarat, Kerala, Arunachal, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. It also showed that in terms of clearing squatters from the defence land, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have done the worst. In the two states, 3,079 acres and 2,500 acres have been encroached and only 44 acres and 13 acres have been recovered, respectively.
The additional Director General Defence Estates (DGDE) said that around 773 acres of military land have been encroached by the states and their undertakings while around 31 acres have been under the encroachment by central government departments. The largest encroachers were former agricultural lessees with 2,582 acres under their encroachment. However, no details were provided for encroachment by private bodies.
Can the armed forces free its own land within the country from ‘enemy forces’?