The army is contemplating to eliminate all its 62 Cantt areas. This can save about two lakh acres of land and saving hundreds of millions of rupees per year in maintenance.
According to a news of the Times of India, the army has proposed to the Ministry of Defense that the military areas within the cantonment can be converted into a ‘special military center’, which will be under full control of the army, while for the civilian areas the local municipal bodies can be entrusted for the maintenance and other purposes.
The army’s top officials feel that this will save the money spent on the maintenance of the Cantt areas and thereby reduce the huge burden of the defense budget. In this year, Rs 476 crore has been set for the maintenance of the Cantt areas.
It is worth mentioning that when the first army cantt in the country was established 250 years ago by the British rulers in Barrackpore. The areas where directly controlled by the army.
There may be a dispute on this proposal from the Army. The Ministry of Defense has a total of 17.3 lakh acres (five times the area of Delhi) of land in the country, out of which about two lakh acres is in 62 Cantt area in 19 states. In addition to the Cantt areas, they include Military Center, Air Base, Naval Base, DRDO Lab, Firing Range, Camping Ground etc.
All the builder lobby has been watching the army’s precious land for a long time. All the industry chambers have also been lobbying for the release of the excess land of the army. In cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Pune, Kolkata and Ambala, there is no room for making residential colonies, but here the army has a lot of land. After independence, most of the cantonments were built on the outskirts of the cities, but now after these large developments, these areas have become part of the cities.