Even Army not spared by land mafia

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The recent revelation by Ministry of Defence regarding encroachment of 730 acres of Army land in Jammu-Kashmir is not only startling but a disturbing one.
The Army which defends Indian Territory from external incursions, guarding its own land within the country, seems to become victim of encroachment.
Army land has been encroached upon at different places in Jammu and Kashmir during the militancy period when the troops were busy in tackling infiltration from the Line of Control (LoC) and militancy in the hinterland.
The Mafia removed Army pillars and grabbed the land while there are vested interests who try to exploit the situation and grab Defence Land.
Ministry of Defence has asked the local Military Authority to carry out inspection of the holding of the land from their department and verification of boundary pillars.
Though Army has started action to digitalize the Defence land and tally it with state revenue authorities to retrieve encroached land but question arises why this encroachment happened.
Agreed that majority of troops were deployed at border as part of counter grid infiltration but unit commanders should have kept small contingent to protect and watch infrastructures and property at permanent location.
The encroachment of 730 acres of defence land is huge and Army definitely cannot afford to let such a major chunk of land to go to the hands of grabbers.
Army in its system will definitely investigate the cases and would take action against responsible commanders for encroachment of their respective land.
As per Army Cantonment Rule 1944, the local officers of the department concerned or Defence Estate Officer, where the land has been placed under the management will also be held responsible for failure of the detection and prevention of any attempts of encroachment.
The case is eye opener for all concerned as it reflects that a very strong Land Mafia, having influential people clout, is operating in the state. Moreover the Land Mafia has gone so berserk in our state that the report of encroachment of forest land, JDA and state land poured in the past but state government failed to take action against the errant. Time has come that the state government should take all necessary steps to bridle Land Mafia irrespective of their affiliation to any influence person or political party.
The officials of revenue department, having in glove with such elements, should be immediately brought to book.
In addition, the state government is also supposed to extend its cooperation with Army authorities in verification of Defence land and booking the culprits as per law.

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