SC seeks centre’s response on encroachment of defence land

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court asked the Centre on Monday to respond to a PIL seeking creation of a ‘unified authority’ to take urgent steps to free more than 14,000 acres of defence land which has been encroached upon and is being commercially exploited by the land mafia.

A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar issued notice on a petition filed by advocate SN Bharadwaj after senior counsel Rakesh K Khanna cited a Public Accounts Committee report to Parliament, which revealed that the extent of encroached defence land had increased from 6,903 acres in 1997 to 14,539 acres in 2009.

The PAC said existence of multiple authorities like directorate general of defence estates (DGDE) and local military authorities (LMAs) that look after management of defence lands have only exacerbated the situation for want of clear demarcation of responsibility.

The panel’s December 31, 2013 report to Parliament recommended “creation of a single unified authority, which shall look into the management and protection of defence lands, fast-track recovery of the encroached lands”.

Credits ET Realty

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