Lucknow: Army it seems is also losing land to both public players and land sharks. In a candid admission to a question in parliament last week Defence Minister AK Anthony has admitted that about 220 acres of prime land owned by army in Uttar Pradesh has has been encroached upon. Both public and private real estate in the culprit.
Over the decades, this defence land has been encroached upon by both, public and private agencies.
An admission made by Defence Minister AK Anthony in Parliament, in reply to a query by BJP MP Prabhat Jha. Jha had sought details of encroachments on defence land in UP. Anthony admitted that over 200 acres in Lucknow and other parts of UP had been lost.
The main bone of contention is - the Trans Gomti Rifle Range - half of which is now the posh Nehru Vihar. The rest, leased out to private builders like the Ansals and Sahara India, even PSUs like Hindustan Petroleum by the Lucknow Development Authority or LDA.
The army now has a token presence in the area just to ward off new encroachers.
In 2004, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court asked the Army and the LDA to settle this land dispute out of court, but that has not happened so far.
Sources in the army say that it is indeed willing to negotiate an amicable settlement if the LDA compensates it with a property of approximately the same area and value and contiguous to the encroached land. But so far the authority has stubbornly refused to come to the negotiating table.
For now, the Army, it seems has simply gifted away a 100 acres of prime land, without getting a rupee in return.