Curtains come down on Cantonment: First one is Yol in HP

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By uday

The military areas within the cantonments will be transformed into military stations, while the civilian areas will merge with the municipality. Currently, there are 62 cantonments throughout the country, including Belagavi, where the British established a military station in 1828.

This decision marks a significant shift in the organization and management of military and civilian areas. The conversion of military areas into military stations will likely result in increased security and efficiency, while the merging of civilian areas with the municipality will promote greater integration and cooperation between military and civilian populations.

Yol, a picturesque town nestled in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, has been officially removed from the list of cantonment towns by the defense ministry. This move aims to merge the civil areas of the cantonment with the local municipality, while the military area will be converted into a military station. The change is expected to benefit civilians, who will now have access to state government welfare schemes through the municipality.

The defense ministry issued a notification on April 27 regarding the change in the status of the cantonment. This is the first in a series of planned excisions of cantonments, which have been deemed municipalities and managed by cantonment boards under the Ministry of Defense’s Defense Estates Department. According to military sources, running them is a state subject.


The Belagavi Cantonment is set to close(soon), but the process will take some time and no definite timeline has been issued. The District authorities have been informed of the many issues that need to be addressed before the closure can take place. Once the necessary state clearances are obtained, an order will be issued for the merger with the local municipality or city corporation.

Belagavi is home to several military establishments, including the MLIRC, JL Wing, and commando training center. However, access roads to many of these facilities are shared, and the fort has a military station in place. The civilian areas within the camp, such as the market bazar area, and residential areas like High Street, Kondappa Street etc, will be merged into the Belagavi City Corporation. It is very likely that the Cantonment area would be made as one separate ward itself after the order.

ClassificationLand descriptionManaged by
A1In active occupation of the Forces and allied services.Local Military Authorities of the Service concerned.
A2Vacant land which must not be built upon due to specific military reasonsDefence Estates Officer.
B1Land owned by the Ministry but in occupation of any other Ministry of the Central GovernmentThe Ministry concerned in occupation of land
B2Land owned by the Ministry but under the control of the State Government.State Government concerned in occupation of land.
B3Land held by private persons under Old Grant terms, leases etc. under which the Central Government reserved or have reserved to themselves the proprietary rights in the land.Defence Estates Officer
B4Land which does not fall under any other class mentioned aboveDefence Estates Officer.
CLand vested in a Cantonment Board for Municipal or other public purposes.Cantonment Board

There are still many uncertainties surrounding the closure, particularly regarding the ownership of land and the restrictions that will be imposed due to the proximity to a Military Station. These issues will need to be addressed before the closure can be finalized.

The ever-increasing expansion of civil areas in cantonments has put pressure on prime defense land, according to an official. A significant portion of the defense budget is spent on developing these civil areas. Civilian residents of cantonments typically do not receive benefits from state government welfare schemes since military facilities are governed by cantonment boards. As a result, there has been a popular demand from civilians and state governments for the excision of cantonments.

The removal of the cantonment towns from the list is expected to benefit all stakeholders. It will allow the army to focus on the development of the military station while enabling civilians to access welfare schemes through the local municipality. This is a positive step towards better governance and development in the region.

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