With the Defence Ministry and its land use coming under the scanner, the government on Wednesday announced it was framing policies for the issue of No Objection Certificate (NOC) and denial of such document to private builders in certain cases.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony told parliamentarians here 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, grant of NOC and ceding of land under occupation of the Ministry has been in focus.

Addressing members of the Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry, Mr. Antony said under the Constitution the subject fell under the jurisdiction of States.

New Policy

The new policy will address the issue of NOC in cases where the local laws require consultation with Local Military Authorities for allowing construction of buildings on land adjacent to defence installations. The government has decided that in case where the local laws do not provide for it, the local military authorities will not directly issue NOC, especially to private builders

Gaps in the system

Admitting ‘gaps' in the system, Mr. Antony said the Ministry was according top priority to computerise land records. He said a number of decisions had been taken by the Ministry regarding land management and proper storage of important title records.

“Without computerisation it will be difficult to manage our vast land records even though we have our system of keeping land-title related records; yet there exists a revenue system in each State. If for a particular piece of land the ownership records tally both in our records and State records, there is no problem. But in some instances, this is not so. Moreover, vested interests lose no time in exploiting gaps in the system,” he told the MPs.

The Minister said the government would amend the Works of Defence Act, 1903 that provided for restrictions on building activity around defence installations so that it was made relevant to present day situations.

The Act had not been amended for the last over 100 years. He said the government was also looking at the de-hiring policy to avert any misuse.

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