The picturesque Yol in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh lost its tag as a cantonment town as the Union Defence Ministry is all set to make provisions for the merger of civil areas with the local municipality, military sources said on Monday.
The military area within the cantonment will be converted into a military station and the civil area will be merged with the municipality, they said.
Defence Ministry's notice
A notification has been issued by the ministry on April 27 for changing the status of the cantonment.
The sources said the move will prove beneficial to all stakeholders and that civilians, who until now were not getting access to welfare schemes of the state government through the municipality, will now be able to avail them.
"As far as the Army is concerned, it too could now focus on the development of the military station," said a source.
"This is a first among a series of excisions of Cantts and is a move that has been welcomed by all. Cantonments are deemed municipalities and running them is a state subject," it said.
Why the change?
The sources said there has been a popular demand from civilian residents and also state governments for the excision of cantonments.
A considerable portion of the defence budget is spent on the development of civil areas of the cantonments, noted an official.
He said due to the ever-increasing expansion of civil areas of cantonments, there is pressure on prime defence land in these facilities.
"Cantonments are colonial structures and military stations can be better administered by taking such steps," said another official.
History of the cantonments
There were 56 cantonments at the time of Independence and six more were notified after 1947. The last Cantonment to be notified was Ajmer in 1962
Civilian residents of the cantonments generally do not get benefits of welfare schemes of the respective state governments as the military facilities are governed by cantonment boards through the Defence Estates Department of the Ministry of Defence.
(With PTI Inputs)