Hyderabad: Around 12,000 acres of Defence land across the country is under encroachment and a Government-ordered survey report in this regard is expected by the end of March next.

This information was given by Union Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju at a news conference while referring to encroachments of Defence land.

The Ministry of Defence ordered the survey following large-scale encroachment on 17.56 lakh acres of land owned by it. It had identified around 12,000 acres of land that was encroached illegally in eight sectors in different parts of the country.

"The total defence land holding in the country is 17.56 lakh acres, out of which 1.6 lakh acres is in 62 cantonments. Now, the extent of encroached land is little over 12,000 acres which has happened historically.... They took up for survey in about eight circles. The survey report should be (out) by the end of this financial year," Raju said.

Close to half of total land occupied by squatters are reported to be in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Raju said the Defence ministry was taking all steps to conserve its valuable land by computerising all the land records.

Defence Minister A K Antony held two meetings in this regard and ordered a resurvey to be done for all defence lands, he added.

Raju replied in the affirmative when asked if the private sector in the country was hesitant to venture into the Defence sector because of staggering costs, longer project time and complex technologies,

"Quality norms are stringent and volumes are low and inconsistent. Unfortunately, many of these factors are true. To be successful, we need excellent talent pool, including engineers, good infrastructure, high quality standards and the ability to deliver goods that suit various climatic conditions and widely difficult locations," he said.

The minister was chief guest at a function in which Avantel, a city-based firm, handed over 12 units of mobile satellite service (MSS)-based communication systems to Boeing.

The US aircraft maker will use these systems in its P-8i reconnaissance aircraft to be supplied to the Indian Navy.

(Agencies)