Antony puts fresh curbs for building on defence land

With land use by the defence ministry coming under the gun after the Adarsh and Sukna land grab scams, the government on Wednesday announced it was framing policies for the issue of no objection certificates (NOCs). Apart from giving "top priority'' to computerisation of land records, the ministry says station military authorities will no longer be allowed to directly issue NOCs to private builders.

Defence minister A K Antony told parliamentarians in New Delhi that the Adarsh Housing Society and Sukhna land issues cast a shadow on the management of 17 lakh acres under his ministry.

In both cases, the grant of NOCs and ceding of land under occupation of the ministry has been in focus.

The ministry of defence (MoD) is framing a new policy about the issue of NOCs in cases where local laws required consultation with station military authorities for construction of buildings adjacent to defence installations.

"However, where a local law does not require this, no NOC will be issued, especially to private builders directly by the station military authorities,'' said Antony, briefing the parliamentary consultative committee on defence.

Admitting that scams like Adarsh and Sukna had "exposed gaps'' in the MoD's land management system and "have projected us in bad light'', Antony said several measures were being taken to plug the loopholes as well as ensure proper storage of important title-related records. "Without computerisation, it will be difficult to manage our vast land records,'' he said.