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SOURCE: Tribune News Service

With thousands of acres of unused land at its disposal, The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has set in motion the first step to commercially exploit, or monetise, these surplus lands. A letter has been sent to all three armed forces, the DRDO, Coast Guard, Ordnance Factory Board, among others to identify what all land is needed by them over the two decades and what all projects are coming up. The remaining surplus may be compiled and reconciled with the Director General Defence Estates (DGDE) within three months, says a letter of the MoD sent out on May 6.

Some of these expected surplus lands are old British time camping ground used when long campaigns had to be sustained, old unused airfields set up in War World II (1939-1945), or even lands which are now within civic areas and serve little military purpose. Another chunck of surplus lands could be with Ordnance factories – there are 41 such factories of varying vintage.

The MoD is looking at identifying two categories of vacant lands — these are ‘Class A-2 and ‘Class B-4’. The Cantonment Land Administration Rules, 1937, have bench-marked all lands as per their intended use of the land, its location and future expansions.

Class A-2 land is not actually used or occupied by the Military Authorities but is used temporarily. The Class ‘B-4’ land is the one which is not included in any other class of lands.

The letter stems from the MoD decision to take action on the recommendations of Sumit Bose Committee constituted for study on optimum use of defence land and to regulate its commercial exploitation. Bose, a former Revenue Secretary, Government of India, had submitted a report with 131 recommendations in December 2017. The Bose Committee recommendation, after a study by the MoD, has been classified under three categories.

The MoD letter sent out on May 6 says it has been decided to implement a section of recommendations of the Bose committee with regard to vacant lands and optimal utilisation of defence land.

Two categories of vacant land

  • The Ministry of Defence is looking at identifying two categories of vacant land — ‘Class A-2 and ‘Class B-4’. The Cantonment Land Administration Rules, 1937, have bench-marked all land as per its intended use, location and future expansions.
  • Class A-2 land is not actually used or occupied by the military authorities, but is used temporarily. The Class ‘B-4’ land is the one which is not included in any other class of land.