Bhopal, Apr 11: Over 1,400 acres of defence land has been encroached upon in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, allegedly by farmers and common people, according to officials of the Indian Defence Estate Services (IDES).
A survey of defence land is being conducted and is nearing completion, an official said. Squatters, including farmers and others, have encroached upon over 1,100 acres of land under jurisdiction of the Bhopal Defence Estate Officer (DEO) in Sagar district and 371 acres under the limits of Jabalpur DEO.
Besides, seven acres of defence land was encroached upon under the limits of DEO of Mhow, which was earlier known as Military Headquarters of War in Indore.
"There has been encroachment of around 165 acres of defence land in Chhattisgarh coming under Jabalpur DEO's office," an official said on Thursday.
The Jabalpur DEO office looks after defence land in 22 districts of Madhya Pradesh as well.
"The encroachment is mainly on the Army's camping grounds which were used during the British period primarily for soldiers to break their journey and take rest while moving," an official said.
In some tracts of Army land, government offices have allegedly come up, a DEO said on the condition of anonymity, adding that some encroachments are 50 to 60 years old.
Jabalpur DEO Rajiv Shrivastava said they recently removed around 407 encroachments from defence land in Pachmarhi - a hill station in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh.
Bhopal DEO Neha Gupta said some people have encroached upon 1,100 acres of defence land in Sagar district as they have failed to vacate the land even after the expiry of their lease deed term a long time ago.
According to an IDES officer, the Defence has around 1.69 lakh acres of land-- the second highest owned by any ministry in the country after Indian Railways.