The favourite pastime of army officers, golf, has come under criticism of a parliamentary panel, which has argued that the sport cannot be considered as “military activity” and the land given to the defence services cannot be used for golf courses.
The Public Accounts Committee on defence estate management on Monday submitted its report to the Lok Sabha, in which it has objected to the presence of foreign diplomats at the miliary golf courses.
“Golf course on defence land is only for military personnel. No civilians or foreigners are permitted to become members of any Golf courses. However, in places like Delhi, foreign diplomats or military attaches are invited at these places. Stringent checks security clearances are obtained from appropriate authorities concerned,” the panel pointed out.
The panel says that at least 16 military golf courses offer membership to different categories of civilians on payment of monthly subscriptions.
“Revenue generated from membership are not credited to government account and is presumably credited to the Regimental fund,” the panel further said.
It says that there are 97 golf courses under the Army and the total area of 79 of these courses was 8076.94 acres while details of 18 remaining golf courses were not made available to the parliamentary panel by the army.
In 2004, the then army chief General NC Vij had declared golf as a sports activity and not only recreational activity. He directed that golf courses would be named as Army Environmental Park and Training Area. He had also directed that no commercial activity be undertaken of the golf courses such as sponsoring gold tournaments by corporate entities.