Parliament panel slams military’s misuse of golf courses

New Delhi, Dec 9: A parliamentary panel Monday expressed its dismay at “gross misuse” of golf courses managed by defence authorities.

In its report on defence estates management for 2013-14, the Public Accounts Committee said the entire policy on such courses should be revisited comprehensively.

The committee observed that scales of accommodation for defence services do not include golf as military activity.

The panel expressed shock that defence authorities were offering membership of golf courses even to foreign diplomats in places such as Delhi.

“The committee deplore the gross misuse of golf courses and recommends that entire policy of golf courses be revisited and remedial action be taken to ensure that facilities for armed forces are not misused or abused in any manner,” it said.

It asked the defence ministry to provide a status paper about golf courses and environmental parks used by the military, the nature of membership and revenue generated annually and the accounts where they were credited.

The committee expressed surprise over the decision in 2004 to declare golf “as a sports activity and not only a recreational activity” and naming golf courses as Army Environmental Park and Training Area.

The committee observed that clubs and parks meant for defence personnel were being exploited by civilians for parties and marriages and their proceeds were not being credited to the government account.

The panel said there were instances of illegal construction on such parks.

“The committee would like the defence ministry to set up an inquiry in the matter so that all encroachments and prohibited activities are detected and remedial action is taken to prevent misuse of defence parks and lands.”

The committee also expressed its dismay over “unabated encroachments on defence land despite the repeated wake up calls given by the constitutional auditor”.