Pune: In the first-of-its-kind meeting between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and vice presidents (VP) of 62 cantonment boards and their local Members of Parliament (MPs) in New Delhi on Friday, unresolved issues in cantonment limits were discussed.
Goods and Service Tax (GST), Floor Space Index (FSI), Central and State government schemes, voters’ lists, and fundings for various projects were discussed at length and the minister said she will analyse the problems and provide solutions soon. Chief Executive Officers of these 62 cantonments including three from Pune, namely Pune Cantonment Board (PCB), Khadki Cantonment Board (KCB) and Dehu Road Cantonment Board, were to attend this meeting, originally scheduled for April 30.
However, Sitharaman rescheduled the meeting with only VP and MPs as attendees. Priyanka Shrigiri, VP of PCB, said, “The main aim of this meeting was to discuss the problems of all the cantonments and take out a solution for cantonment development. Mostly all the cantonment VP and MPs raised similar problems.” “We raised issues like Bhairoba Nala beautification, defence land, encroachment problems, water, sewage treatment plant, funding of projects, stringent terms for construction, alternate rules for rent agreement,” Shrigiri said. MP Anil Shirole said, “The minister listened to the issues related to Cantonment. And all the Cantonment representatives have submitted a letter which has a list of problems.”
Issues faced by civilians
†VPs and MPs discussed the “tragedies” that civilians living around military stations have to go through and urged the government to amend an archaic British era law relating to the administration of such areas.
†They were of the view that civilians were being subjected to hardships by military men in cantonment areas.
† They complained that elected representatives had no say in running the administration of Cantonment Boards, headed by the military officer commanding the station.
† Defence Minister said issues related to the administration have been noted.