Army authorities partial in regularising DSW’s structures, say PCB members

The Army authorities came under fire from the elected board members at the general body meeting of the PCB on Monday for regularising unauthorised structures of Department of Sainik Welfare (DSW).

As reported by The Indian Express in December, DSW of the Government of Maharashtra has allegedly carried out 1,721 sq m of unauthorised construction on prime defence land that they hold on lease, bang opposite the land monitoring agency of the Southern Command - Pune Sub Area.

Prasad Kedari, elected member, PCB said that the cantonment board has regularised the unauthorised structure at DSW by charging them few lakhs of rupees, mere 20 per cent of the total cost of construction. The construction, it may be noted is worth Rs 1 crore and includes Mahasainik Lawns marriage hall called Hirkani which is lent to ex-servicemen for marriages and other functions.

The other constructions include a dormitory building, a toilet block, an office and a mini multipurpose hall called Mastani, which has a capacity to accommodate about 200-250 people. This paper has also been reporting on the unauthorised usage of charity funds worth Rs 3 crore by DSW and MESCO besides the unauthorised structures.

Karan Makwani, member, PCB said the Army is making 'special' exceptions for DSW because it is run by a retired colonel for

reasons best known to Army authorities. "Why is it that the Sainik Department's unauthorised constructions are being regularised by the Army authorities? Is it simply because it is run by retired Army officers? So what if they are retired Army officers? The fact that they have carried out illegal construction without any authorisation, calls for notices to be sent to them. Instead, the board is authorising the construction."

The matter had surfaced in the general body meeting of PCB in December and was referred to the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Command. Arti Mahajan, vice-president, PCB said, "When the PCB issues legal notices to smallest of unauthorised constructions in the cantonment, why are they not taking any legal action against DSW? We have no clue whether it was sent to the GOC-in-C for regularisation."

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