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West Bengal, military to review land issues

Special Correspondent

Kolkata: A committee comprising senior officials of West Bengal and the military will review issues of land held and freshly required by the defence forces in the State.

The decision was taken after meetings between officials of the Home Department and the military on Saturday, sources at the Secretariat said. This is the first time such a committee is being constituted.

Comprising officials of the departments of Land and Land Reforms, and Forests and the military, the panel would meet in September and every three months thereafter to take speedy decisions. It would discuss encroachments being faced by the military near its cantonment and other establishments, the sources told The Hindu. This issue apart, the Army wants land for its establishment as also for a Welfare Housing Project.

The meeting discussed the use of the large stretch of green in the heart of the city. Known better as the Brigade Parade Ground, the patch is considered the lungs of a city choking with air pollution, caused mainly by automobiles.

However, the use of this greenery, the ‘Maidan,' has been a bone of contention between the military and political parties, which use it for public meetings. The Army is the custodian of the ground.The Fire Department now wants to use part of this ground for keeping a ladder — crucial for evacuating people trapped in high-rise buildings during calamities.When contacted, officials in the Eastern Command declined to make any comments beyond saying the meeting was a routine civil-military liaison which discussed various issues.

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