What is a Cantonment?

Introduction

A cantonment is a military or police quarters.

The word cantonment, derived from the French word canton, meaning corner or district, refers to a temporary military or winter encampment. For example, at the start of the Waterloo campaign in 1815, while the Duke of Wellington’s headquarters were in Brussels, most of his Anglo-allied army of 93,000 soldiers were cantoned, or stationed, to the south of Brussels.

In India and other parts of South Asia a cantonment refers to a permanent military station. In US military parlance, a cantonment is, essentially, “a permanent residential section (i.e. barracks) of a fort or other military installation,” such as Fort Hood.

List of Permanent Cantonments

Afghanistan

The former Sherpur Cantonment in Kabul, Afghanistan, which was the site of the Siege of the Sherpur Cantonment (1879) in the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880), is now maintained as a British Army cemetery.

Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, cantonments are residential quarters for many military personnel aside from soldiers. These individuals include officers, teachers, military doctors, military nurses, junior commanding officers, and non–commissioned Officers. A wide variety of military training is provided in Bangladesh cantonments:

  • Alikadam Cantonment, Bandarban.
  • Bandarban Cantonment, Bandarban.
  • Bangladesh Military Academy, Chittagong.
  • Chittagong Cantonment, Chittagong.
  • Comilla Cantonment, Comilla.
  • Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka.
  • Dighinala Cantonment, Khagrachari.
  • Halishahar Cantonment, Chittagong.
  • Jahanabad Cantonment, Khulna.
  • Jahangirabad Cantonment, Bogra.
  • Jalalabad Cantonment, Sylhet.
  • Jamuna Cantonment, Tangail.
  • Jessore Cantonment, Jessore.
  • Kaptai Cantonment, Kaptai.
  • Khagrachari Cantonment, Khagrachari.
  • Kholahati Cantonment, Dinajpur.
  • Majhira Cantonment, Bogra.
  • Mawa Cantonment, Louhajong, Munshigonj.
  • Mirpur Cantonment, Dhaka.
  • Mymensingh Cantonment, Mymensingh.
  • Padma Cantonment, Shariatpur.
  • Postogola Cantonment, Dhaka.
  • Qadirabad Cantonment, Natore.
  • Rajendrapur Cantonment, Gazipur.
  • Rajshahi Cantonment, Rajshahi.
  • Ramu Cantonment, Cox’s Bazar.
  • Rangamati Cantonment, Rangamati.
  • Rangpur Cantonment, Rangpur.
  • Saidpur Cantonment, Rangpur.
  • Savar Cantonment, Dhaka.
  • Shahid Salahuddin Cantonment, Ghatail.
  • Sheikh Hasina Cantonment, Lebukhali, Barisal-Patuakhali.

Bhutan

The Indian Army maintains a training mission in Bhutan, known as the Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) which is responsible for the military training of the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) and Royal Bodyguard (RBG) personnel. All RBA and RBG officers are sent for training at the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy. Moreover, Project Dantak, a division of the Indian Border Roads Organisation and subdivision of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers, was established in Bhutan on 24 April 1961, with its first commanding officer, Colonel TV Jaganathan. Project Dantak has since been responsible for the construction and maintenance of more than 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) of roads and bridges, Paro Airport, a disused airfield at Yongphulla Airport, heliports, and other infrastructure. These serve India’s strategic defence needs, but also provide economic benefits for the Bhutani citizens.

British India

Several cities among the Indian subcontinent, such as Ahmedabad, Ambala, Belgaum, Bangalore, Danapur, Jabalpur, Kanpur, Bathinda, Delhi, Meerut, Pune, Peshawar, Ramgarh, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Secunderabad, and Trichy, contained large cantonments of the former British Indian Army, with Meerut and Ramgarh being two of the most important cantonments in northern India, second only to the headquarters at Rawalpindi. Meerut was established in 1803 and for 150 years was the largest cantonment in the region. Although cantonments in India were considered to be semi-permanent in the 18th and 19th centuries, by the turn of the 20th century they had transitioned to being permanent garrisons. They were further entrenched as such, via the military reforms of Lord Kitchener in 1903, and the Cantonments Act of 1924.

Ghana

Cantonments is an affluent suburb of the Ghanaian city Accra, in the La Dade Kotopon Municipal District, a district in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.

The Cantonments area was intended to become military quarters under the British Colonial government, in the Gold Coast, now Ghana. However, it was upgraded to become a modern planned residential settlement. Most of the homes in the area have three to four bedrooms and are often occupied by the wealthy, academics or government officials. Many diplomatic missions in the country are in the Cantonments area including the US Embassy.

The Cantonments Hospital, Police Hospital and the Health care centre & Clinic of Contonments are the healthcare institutions that are located in Cantonments.

The following schools are in Cantonments, Accra:

  • New Horizon Special School.
  • National film and television instituted (NAFTI).
  • Ghana International School.
  • Aquinas Secondary School.
  • Morning Star School.
  • Christ the King International School.

Nigeria

Cantonments in Nigeria refer to permanent military installations which house active personnel and their families. Cantonments in Nigeria include:

  • Airforce Cantonment, Ikeja, Lagos.
  • Armed forces resettlement centre, Oshodi, Lagos.
  • Army Ordnance Cantonment, (also known as Abalti Barracks), Yaba, Lagos.
  • Arn Cantonment, Yaba, Lagos.
  • Badagry Cantonment, Badagry, Lagos.
  • Dodan Cantonment, Ikoyi, Lagos.
  • Ikeja Cantonment, Ikeja, Lagos.
  • Marda Cantonment, Yaba, Lagos.
  • Navy Town, Ojo, Lagos.
  • Ojo Cantonment (also known as Palm Barracks), Ojo, Lagos.
  • Bonny Camp, Victoria Island.

Pakistan (General)

Cantonments in Pakistan (Urdu: توقف گاہِ نظامیاں ، پاکستان‎) are permanent military bases of Pakistan Army, which are administered by Cantonment Boards under the control of the Military Lands & Cantonments Department (ML&C), Ministry of Defence, Government of Pakistan. Cantonments are established under and governed by the Cantonments Act 1924.

In recent times, the demographic character of most independence era cantonments has changed, as they are no longer primarily “garrison” areas, and include significant civilian populations and private businesses. Based on the strength of civil population, the cantonments have been divided into three classes:

  • Class I Cantonments, in which the civil population is one hundred thousand or more;
  • Class II Cantonments, in which the civil population is fifty thousands or more but less than one hundred thousand; and
  • Class III Cantonments, in which the civil population is less than fifty thousand.

Pakistan (Administration of Cantonments)

Prior to 1864, cantonments used to be administered by military authorities under various government orders. In 1864, for the first time, an act was adopted for improving the administration of the cantonments. A magistrate was appointed to administer the area. The act also regulated the funds granted by Government for the purpose of bettering the various facilities.

In 1880, another act was passed that empowered the cantonment authority to impose taxes, as well as granting legal status to the cantonment committee. The act gave power to impose fines and penalties for non-payment of taxes, and for encroachments. After World War I, political changes took place in South Asia that affected the administration of the cantonments. The changes also became part of day-to-day life in cantonments, as it had to do with its working.

The Cantonments Act of 1924 was a landmark in the history of cantonments, as it brought in its wake some sweeping changes. The act introduced the representative local government system, under which elected representative of the civil population became members of the Cantonment Boards. The Boards were created as autonomous statutory local bodies for providing civil services. The powers and functions of the Cantonment Board are synonymous to Municipal Committees in the cities. The members constituting the Board are both officially nominated as well as elected through a direct vote on the basis of adult franchise. Officials nominated as members hold the majority. The station commander, a senior military officer, is the ex officio President of the Board. This is to protect the interest of troops, and ensure their welfare and discipline.

The administration of cantonments and management of the military lands inside and outside the cantonments is centrally controlled and supervised by the Military Lands and Cantonments Department, which is an attached department of the Ministry of Defence headed by a Director General. The Director General is assisted by an Additional Director and a Deputy Director at the headquarters. In addition, five Regional Deputy Directors based at Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi and Quetta supervise the respective cantonment boards in their jurisdiction. The Cantonment Executive Officer is the principal executive at the local level. The Board normally decides and lays down policies, while the executive officer executes these policies. He is the chief exponent of the Board’s policies. He acts as an adviser and is a permanent officer specially trained in local administration. He is empowered to carry out the policies and decisions and ensure adherence to the various laws and bylaws. The presence of elected members in the board has a salutary effect, and is most beneficial for the civilian residents because the elected members are the medium to convey their views. The elected members play an important role in the development of public services in their respective areas. Development works are usually carried out in consultation with the respective elected members. Major development schemes are finalised in the budget meeting held before the beginning of the fiscal year, with the consent of all the members.

The Cantonment Board is an organ of the local government and is free to formulate policies for local development within the frame work of the Cantonments Act and other government regulations. The board ordinarily holds one meeting each month. All matters are decided by majority, but in case of a tie, the matter is decided through the President’s vote. All meetings of the board are open meetings, unless specifically directed otherwise by the President of the Board.

All Cantonments Boards work under the administrative control of the Director General of Military Lands and Cantonments. The Director General may issue various directives on important policy matters, and the Cantonment Boards comply with the same. All accounts are audited annually by the Audit Department of the Government of Pakistan.

Pakistan (Local Government & Elections)

Local government elections have not been held in the cantonments since year 2000 in Pakistan. The absence of local government across the various cantonments board in Pakistan was challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2009. The Government of Pakistan has responded by stating that changes to the Cantonment Boards Act of 1924 are pending at the National Assembly of Pakistan, as of 2014. Many of the identified anomalies in the existing Act of 1924 are in direct conflict with the Constitution of Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan has responded by saying that:

“The presence of a number of laws (the Cantonment Act 1924 [sic], the Cantonment Local Government Election Ordinance 2002 and the Cantonment Ordinance 2002) made it difficult to hold free and fair elections in the areas as required by the Constitution.”

The Provincial governments are bound by law to announce a date for local elections in consultation with the Election Commission of Pakistan once the legal challenges have been resolved. Local government elections were held recently in 2015.

Pakistan (List of Cantonments)

  • Balochistan Province:
    • Chaman Cantonment.
    • Khuzdar Cantonment.
    • Loralai Cantonment.
    • Ormara Cantonment.
    • Quetta Cantonment.
    • Zhob Cantonment.
    • Gwadar Cantonment.
    • Turbat Cantonment.
    • Sibi Cantonment.
    • Pasni Cantonment.
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province:
    • Abbottabad Cantonment.
    • Bannu Cantonment.
    • Cherat Cantonment.
    • Dera Ismail Khan Cantonment.
    • Havelian Cantonment.
    • Kohat Cantonment.
    • Mardan Cantonment.
    • Nowshera Cantonment.
    • Peshawar Cantonment.
    • Risalpur Cantonment.
    • Swat Cantonment.
    • Tarbela Cantonment.
    • Kalabagh Cantonment, Nathia Gali.
  • Punjab Province:
    • Gujranwala Cantonment
    • Attock Cantonment.
    • Bhawalpur Cantonment.
    • Rahim Yar Khan Cantonment.
    • Chaklala Cantonment.
    • D.G.Khan Cantonment.
    • Jalalpur Jattan Cantonment.
    • Jhelum Cantonment.
    • Kamra Cantonment.
    • Kharian Cantonment.
    • Kirana Cantonment, Sargodha.
    • Lahore Cantonment.
    • Mangla Cantonment.
    • Marala Cantonment.
    • Multan Cantonment.
    • Murree Hills Cantonment.
    • Mailsi Cantonment.
    • Okara Cantonment.
    • Qadirabad Cantonment.
    • Rawalpindi Cantonment.
    • Sanjwal Cantonment.
    • Sargodha Cantonment.
    • Shorkot Cantonment.
    • Sialkot Cantonment.
    • Taxila Cantonment.
    • Wah Cantonment.
    • Walton Cantonment.
    • Chunian Cantonment.
    • Khanewal Cantonment.
  • Sindh Province:
    • Chhor, Sindh Cantonment.
    • Clifton Cantonment, Karachi.
    • Faisal Cantonment, Karachi.
    • Hyderabad Cantonment.
    • Karachi Cantonment.
    • Korangi Creek Cantonment, Karachi.
    • Kashmor Cantonment.
    • Malir Cantonment, Karachi.
    • Manora Cantonment, Karachi.
    • Pano Aqil Cantonment.
    • Petaro Cantonment.
    • Badin Cantonment.
    • Jacobabad Cantonment.
  • Gilgit Baltistan:
    • Gilgit Cantonment.
    • Skardu Cantonment.

Singapore

In Singapore, the term is used to denote a police cantonment.

Sri Lanka

Panagoda Cantonment is a cantonment located in the western Western Province of Sri Lanka. Built in 1953, it serves as the regimental headquarters of many regiments of the Sri Lanka Army and is an arsenal. It also houses one of the main Military Hospitals operated by the Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps. It is one of the largest military bases in Sri Lanka.

The following regiments have their headquarters at the Panagoda Cantonment:

  • Sri Lanka Light Infantry.
  • Sri Lanka Artillery.
  • Sri Lanka Engineers.
  • Sri Lanka Signals Corps.
  • Engineer Services Regiment.
  • Sri Lanka Army Service Corps.
  • Sri Lanka Army Ordnance Corps.
  • Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps.
  • Sri Lanka Army General Service Corps.

United States of America

The United States military commonly uses the term “cantonment” to describe the permanent facilities at US Army training bases as opposed to the field training areas. Cantonment areas often include housing (such as barracks and maid-service quarters), dining facilities, training classrooms, exchanges, and paved air fields.

You can find more information on Indian Cantonments at the Directorate General Defence Estates, part of teh Defence Estates Organisation (Ministry of Defence).

India (General)

There are sixty-two “notified cantonments” in India, occupying an area of 1,057,000 acres:

  • 25 in Central Command;
  • 19 in Southern Command;
  • 13 in Western Command;
  • 4 in Eastern Command; and
  • 1 in Northern Command.

In addition 15,096,000 acres are in use for military garrisons, offices, and training areas. Major cantonments and garrisons include the following:

  • Notified Cantonments:
    1. Agra Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    2. Ahmedabad Cantonment, Gujarat, Southern Command.
    3. Ahmednagar Cantonment, Maharashtra, Southern Command.
    4. Varanasi Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    5. Ajmer Cantonment, Rajasthan, Southern Command.
    6. Allahabad Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    7. Almora Cantonment, Uttarakhand, Central Command.
    8. Ambala Cantonment, Haryana, Western Command.
    9. Amritsar Cantonment, Punjab, Western Command.
    10. Aurangabad Cantonment, Maharashtra, Southern Command.
    11. Babina Cantonment, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, Southern Command.
    12. Badamibagh Cantonment, Jammu and Kashmir, Northern Command.
    13. Bakloh Cantonment, Chamba District, Himachal Pradesh, Western Command.
    14. Bareilly Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    15. Barrackpore, West Bengal, Eastern Command.
    16. Belgaum Cantonment, Karnataka, Southern Command.
    17. Cannanore Cantonment, Kerala, Southern Command.
    18. Chakrata Cantonment, Uttarakhand, Central Command.
    19. Clement Town Cantonment, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, Central Command.
    20. Dagshai Cantonment, Himachal Pradesh, Western Command.
    21. Dalhousie Cantonment, Himachal Pradesh, Western Command.
    22. Danapur Cantonment, Bihar, Central Command.
    23. Dehradun Cantonment, Uttarakhand, Central Command.
    24. Yol Cantonment, Himachal Pradesh, Western Command.
    25. Dehu Road Cantonment, Maharashtra, Southern Command.
    26. Delhi Cantonment, Delhi, Western Command.
    27. Deolali Cantonment, Maharashtra, Southern Command.
    28. Dum Dum Cantonment, West Bengal, Eastern Command.
    29. Faizabad Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    30. Faizabad New Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    31. Fatehgarh Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    32. Ferozepur Cantonment, Punjab, Western Command.
    33. Gopalpur Cantonment, Odisha, Central Command.
    34. Jabalpur Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh, Central Command.
    35. Jalandhar Cantonment, Punjab, Western Command.
    36. Jalapahar, Darjeeling, West Bengal, Eastern Command.
    37. Jammu Cantonment, Jammu and Kashmir, Western Command.
    38. Jhansi Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Southern Command.
    39. Jutogh Cantonment, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, Western Command.
    40. Kamptee Cantonment, Maharashtra, Southern Command.
    41. Kanpur Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    42. Kasauli Cantonment, Himachal Pradesh, Western Command.
    43. Khas Yol Cantonment, Kangara, Himachal Pradesh, Western Command.
    44. Kirkee Cantonment, Maharashtra, Southern Command.
    45. Landour Cantonment, Uttarakhand, Central Command.
    46. Lansdowne Cantonment, Uttarakhand, Central Command.
    47. Lebong, Darjeeling, West Bengal, Eastern Command.
    48. Lucknow Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    49. Mathura Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    50. Meerut Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    51. Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh, Central Command.
    52. Morar Cantonment, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, Southern Command.
    53. Nainital Cantonment, Uttarakhand, Central Command.
    54. Nasirabad Cantonment, Rajasthan, Southern Command.
    55. Pachmarhi Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh, Central Command.
    56. Pune Cantonment, Maharashtra, Southern Command.
    57. Ramgarh Cantonment, Jharkhand, Central Command.
    58. Ranikhet Cantonment, Uttarakhand, Central Command.
    59. Roorkee Cantonment, Uttarakhand, Central Command.
    60. Saugor Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh, Southern Command.
    61. Secunderabad Cantonment, Telangana, Southern Command.
    62. Shahajahanpur Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    63. Shillong Cantonment, Meghalaya, Eastern Command.
    64. St. Thomas Mount Cantonment, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Southern Command.
    65. Subathu Cantonment, Shimla Hills, Himachal Pradesh, Western Command.
    66. Wellington Cantonment, Tamil Nadu, Southern Command.
  • Unlisted Military Cantonments:
    1. Abohar Cantonment (Abohar, Punjab).
    2. Varanasi Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh, Central Command.
    3. Akhnoor Cantonment (Akhnoor, Jammu and Kashmir).
    4. Baddowal Cantonment (Ludhiana, Punjab).
    5. Bangalore Cantonment (Bangalore, Karnataka).
    6. Bikaner Cantonment (Bikaner, Rajasthan).
    7. Bhatinda Cantonment (Bhatinda, Punjab).
    8. Bhuj Cantonment (Bhuj, Gujarat).
    9. Bhopal Cantonment (Madhya Pradesh).
    10. Chandimandir Cantonment (Chandigarh).
    11. Faridkot Cantonment (Faridkot, Punjab).
    12. Fazilka Cantonment (Fazilka, Punjab).
    13. Gandhinagar Cantonment (Gandhinagar, Gujarat).
    14. Gopalpur Cantonment (Brahmapur, Orissa).
    15. Narengi Cantonment (Guwahati, Assam).
    16. Hisar Cantt (Hisar, Haryana).
    17. Itarana Cantonment (Alwar, Rajasthan).
    18. Jaipur Cantonment (Jaipur, Rajasthan).
    19. Jaisalmer Cantonment (Jaisalmer, Rajasthan).
    20. Jodhpur Cantonment (Rajasthan).
    21. Bharatpur Cantonment (Rajasthan).
    22. Joshimath Cantonment (Joshimath, Uttarakhand).
    23. Kapurthala Cantonment (Kapurthala, Punjab).
    24. Khasa Cantonment (Amritsar, Punjab).
    25. Ludhiana Cantonment (Punjab).
    26. Mamun Cantonment (Pathankot, Punjab).
    27. Missamari Cantonment (Missamari, Assam).
    28. Nagrota Cantonment (Nagrota, Jammu & Kashmir).
    29. Pathankot Cantonment (Pathankot, Punjab).
    30. Patiala Cantonment (Punjab).
    31. Pithoragarh Cantonment (Pithoragarh , Uttarakhand).
    32. Dipatoli Cantonment (Ranchi, Jharkhand).
    33. Shahjahanpur Cantonment (Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh).
    34. Solmara Cantonment (Tezpur, Assam).
    35. Sri Ganganagar Cantonment (Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan).
    36. Suratgarh Cantonment (Suratgarh, Rajasthan).
    37. Thiruvananthapuram Cantonment (Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala).
    38. Tibri Cantonment (Hoshiarpur, Punjab).
    39. Udhampur Cantonment (Udhampur, Jammu & Kashmir).
    40. Vadodra Cantonment (Vadodra, Gujarat).
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