The Maharashtra government has done precious little to return the tracts of land owned by the navy but usurped by squatters across the state.
Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin, flag officer commanding in chief of the western naval command, said this, claiming that Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society is not the only structure near the city’s sensitive naval base.
He said there were large tracts of naval land captured by slum-dwellers in south Mumbai. “We hope we can get the land back by 2011.”
The problem prompted the navy to ask the director general of defence estates to conduct a thorough scrutiny of defence land records in Mumbai and start acquiring them back.
The western naval command is also concerned about the uncontrolled growth of the Sunder Nagar and Gita Nagar slums near its base in south Mumbai.
Vice Admiral Bhasin said the Sunder Nagar slums were close to navy’s helicopter gunship base, the INS Shikra that was recently used by the US Marines during President Barack Obama’s visit.
“It is at a critical location. Those living there can see helicopters taking off and landing from a close distance. It does pose a threat,” he said.
According to defence ministry records, there is also large-scale encroachment at Kalyan, a Mumbai suburb where slum-dwellers have even started cultivating the land.
“The procedure to acquire revenue land (around sensitive defence installations) has been initiated to prevent any future occurrences like the Adarsh society incident,” he said.
On why did the navy object to Adarsh society building only after it was constructed, he said, “The navy was given the charge of coastal security only in February 2009.”