Residents in Secunderabad breathed a sigh of relief as several roads which were shut down by the Local Military Authority (LMA) were reopened after recent orders issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
This comes after protests by locals for several years, with things reaching a tipping point.
In a press release, the Federation of North Eastern Colonies of Secunderabad confirmed that the Valerian School gate, Eagle Chowk gate, Bison Dwar, Holy Trinity Church gate, Hakimpet gate and Hanuman Temple Balaji Nagar gate had been opened.
The night restrictions on the four AOC roads – Entrenchment Road, Gough Road, Wellington Road and Ordinance Road – were also lifted.
The federation also demanded that permanent blockages be removed soon from Lakdawala gate, Ammuguda junction, the area below the RK Puram Flyover and other roads in the MCEME area.
"FNECS wishes to thank each and every ordinary citizen who, through letters, e-mails, tweets, WhatsApp messages, signature campaigns, has brought their plight to the notice of the authorities and forced them to take notice of the problem and resolve it. Today is a step forward for each of them. FNECS hopes that the bonhomie and goodwill generated by the opening of closed roads will lead to a period of civil-military cooperation and co-existence with mutual respect," the press release stated.
However, mild tension prevailed on Wednesday morning as LMA authorities did not allow joggers into the Wellington road, leading to AOC. However, they later allowed the citizens to pass.
Speaking to TNM, SCB Vice President J Ramakrishna said, "All the roads are open now. The ones which are obstructed with permanent structures and gates will be opened in a day or two, as they have to be demolished."
The Army authorities had raised a permanent wall and closed the thoroughfare at Doveton in Bolarum, which used to connect Yapral and Bolarum. This road was crucial for the students and residents of Alwal to reach Valerian Grammar School.
The decision to reopen the roads comes after a meeting convened by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with Members of Parliament and elected Vice Presidents of all 62 Cantonment Boards on May 4, 2018.
The meeting had discussed issues relating to Cantonments, and a detailed review was undertaken by the ministry on various issues, in particular those relating to closure of roads in the Cantonments.
The MoD decided to firstly reopen all closed roads in the Cantonments immediately.
"The issue of closure of individual roads will be reviewed de novo, in conformity with the provisions as laid down, and any closure of roads to be undertaken, will be done only after following the due procedure. A simplified detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will shortly be issued to jointly address the needs of the local public and the military establishment. All other issues raised in the meeting were deliberated in detail and a time bound action plan is being prepared in consultation with all stakeholders," a press release stated.