Army golf courses are Illegal, says CAG

Army golf courses are Illegal, says CAG

  But each and every Army golf courses and clubs are unauthorised and functioning in clear violation of rules, the Comptroller and Auditor General has found.

Since Army rules do not include golf as an authorised activity, golf grounds and attendant activities can not be allowed to set up in military lands. But in reality all Army golf courses including one in Bangalore (197.18 acre) and one in Belgaum (113.95 acre) are on A-1 category land, which is meant for strict military use.

As of August, 2009 there were 97 such golf courses under the Army covering 8076.94 acres. All of them are unauthorised, the CAG report tabled in the Parliament said. “Its not necessary for the golf courses to survive in an unauthorised land. But there are no rules in the defence ministry on how to regulate the golf courses,” said deputy CAG Rekha Gupta.

In 2004, then Army Chief NK Vij declared golf as a sports activity and not merely recreation. He directed renaming of the golf courses as Army Environmental Park and Training Areas, which actually helped the Army in later years to buy golf carts claiming they are special vehicles needed for the environment parks.

The Army admitted that golf was played in vacant land meant for “Key Location Plan” in an cantonment area which are designated areas in cantonments and military stations for housing battle units and assets.

According to the director general of defence estate golf courses on KLP land is not permitted because the activity required large chunk of land affecting the KLP of a military station when the units as per KLP come up. But the Army  claimed it would vacate the land when KLP constructions take place.

While the army and DGDE have conflicting stands on the golf courses, the issue has become further complicated because these courses are managed Army Zone Golf, a private registered society, which in at least 16 courses offer memberships to ex-servicemen, civilians and foreigners.

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