NOC rules to be revised for buildings near defence area

Representative Image (Image by Jason Goh from Pixabay)

The Defence ministry is deliberating revising no-objection guidelines for buildings in the vicinity of defence establishments and ensure that security is not jeopardised while accommodating development needs.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who had served as Defence Minister in the previous NDA government, said there is "no conflict" between civilians and armed services on the issue.

In October 2016, the Defence Ministry had issued a circular regarding guidelines for issue of No Objection Certificate (NOC) for building constructions.

As per the guidelines, Army stations requiring NOC from the Local Military Authority (MLA) within distances specified have been identified.

It is a "sensitive issue" but the situation is not that no permissions have been given for projects, Sitharaman told Lok Sabha.

There are projects that are getting clearances. After 2017, as many as 22 proposals related to Mumbai were received and out of them, only one is under examination. Seven projects were given permission, she added. "Without hesitation, permissions were given," the minister said even as she stressed that national security cannot be put in danger. The minister said during her tenure, she had six meetings on the issue and assured that matter is "almost nearing the stage of finalisation".

"342 establishments of Indian Army have been identified under the circular dated October 21, 2016. No establishment of Air Force, Navy and other establishments of Army have been identified," Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said in a written reply.

He said the ministry has received representations related to the circular. On whether the government has received representations regarding non-compliance with the circular, the minister replied in the affirmative.

"Based on these representations, revision of NOC guidelines is under deliberation in the Ministry of Defence in consultations with the Services and Coast Guard. "The matter is being monitored to ensure that the security of defence establishments does not get jeopardised while accommodating development needs," Naik noted. There is "no conflict" between civilians and armed services personnel but it takes time to address issues, Sitharaman said.

Her response came after Shiv Sena member Rahul Shewale observed that there are such conflicts while asking a supplementary related to restrictions for buildings in the vicinity of defence establishments. Sitharaman also reminded the House about the Mumbai attacks as she sought to emphasise that good policy would be coming.

BJP member from Arunachal Pradesh Tapir Gao raised the issue of compensation for people in the state who had given even their cultivable land for the armed forces. In response, Sitharaman said that during her tenure as Defence Minister there have been discussions on the matter and many issues have been sorted out. "People of Arunachal Pradesh have been extremely cooperative with the armed forces... A decision will come immediately," she said.

Sitharaman was responding to certain supplementary as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was not present in the House. Responses and supplementary related to the question about the redevelopment of old houses and buildings located in the vicinity of defence establishments went on for more than 25 minutes.

It is not often that a single question and related supplementary are taken up for such a long duration in the Lok Sabha. For the first time since the Winter Session began on Monday, there were no protests by Opposition members during the Question Hour. 

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