All military farms to shut shop by 2017 Rajat Pandit,TNN | Apr 22, 2013, 12.36AM IST NEW DELHI: Army officers and japan's will soon have to kiss their milk, butter and paneer from fauji cows a final goodbye. All military farms across the country, part and parcel of cantonment life for over a century, will be shut down by 2017. The Army HQ has decided to close down its 39 military farms, which house around 23,600 cattle with an annual production of over 335 lakh kg of milk, in two phases. While 29 farms will shut shop between 2013 and 2015, the remaining 10 will follow suit by 2017. The decision was taken because it was felt the military farms, first conceived in 1889 to ensure reliable supply of pure dairy produce for soldiers and fodder for their animals, were no longer needed due to the widespread availability of milk and milk products in the civilian market. "Cantonments were earlier largely isolated from towns and cities. But with rapid urban growth, most cantonment are now located within population clusters. Moreover, after the green and white revolutions, there is no dearth of milk and milk products from civilian sources now. Military farms have lost their relevance," said a senior officer. The operation of military farms, which rear livestock, vegetables, fodder and fertilizers under an annual Rs 374 crore budget, has also been marred by major corruption cases and some officers being court-martialled in recent years. Approving the closure of military farm's after a 2012 study carried out by the QMG (quarter-master general) Branch, Army chief General Bikram Singh directed that "accountability" of the land involved must "be ensured" during the winding up process. The defence establishment, among the country's largest landowners with 17.3 lakh acres under its control, has after all been rocked by a series of land scams, ranging from Adarsh and Sukna to Malad and Srinagar, over the last few years. The 39 farms are spread over 20,126 acres in places like Ahmednagar, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Secunderabad, Mhow, Jhansi, Dimapur, Guwahati, Jorhat, Panagarh, Kolkata, Ambala, Jalandhar, Agra, Pathankot, Allahabad, Lucknow, Meerut, Kanpur, Ranikhet, Jammu,vSrinagar, Kargil and Udhampur, among others. The almost 2,000 personnel of the military farms, including over 20 officers, will also be progressively transferred to other wings and departments. "The decision to close the military farms was also discussed during the recent Army Commanders' conference," said the officer.