Defence Ministry to decide how to use land relinquished by President

Close on the heels of President Pratibha Patil’s proposed Khadki retirement home controversy, Maj Gen S K Yadav, in-charge, administration, Southern Command, said that defence land will only be used for the betterment of the army station. 

The President’s home was to cost Rs 5 crore and 25 per cent of that amount had already been poured into the project before she gave up the idea of building a retirement home on defence land because of a sustained campaign of protests by ex-servicemen.

To the point: (From left) Maj Gen SK Yadav, Maj Gen CP Singh, Brigadier MS Jaswal at the press meet yesterday

Speaking at a press meet organised at the headquarters of Pune sub-area on Tuesday, Yadav said in relation to an update on infrastructural development by the Southern Command that the Ministry of Defence would now decide on suitable use for the land.

Major General C P Singh, operational logistics, Brigadier M S Jaswal, station commander, were present at the conference.

“After the controversy over President Pratibha Patil’s proposed residence in Khadki, the A1 defence land will be utilised for army station betterment. A total of Rs 5 crore was proposed for the President’s residence, of which 25 per cent has already been expended. Ministry of Defence will take a decision regarding suitable use of that land,” said Yadav.

Jaswal said the Southern Command has taken effective steps to improve management of its land, optimise administration of its cantonments and identify and set right all errors, mistakes and deviations that have occurred in the past.

“Southern Command has also commenced the process of digitisation of land data. This will be GIS-based software, with satellite image overlays, photographs and annotation of survey numbers. It will have facility of zooming in and out, flythrough and such other user-friendly attributes,” Jaswal said.

The Southern Command also stated in a press release that several acres of defence land had been illegally claimed through alteration of revenue records.

The release said a relentless drive had led to the retrieval of the land and ownership had now been restored to the army in revenue records. It added that the CBI was conducting an investigation in this regard.

Upcoming projects
The Southern Command also gave a brief presentation on upcoming projects and proposals. These are:
>> Two sewage treatment plants coming up in Pune Cantonment
>> Local Military Authority has mooted a proposal to install CCTV cameras across the Cantonment in conjunction with police
>> Southern Command HQ has been allotted Rs 450 crore for new constructions and Rs 200 crore for accommodation maintenance
>> Renovation of Shivaji Market in Camp  

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