This comes after allegations by locals that 10 roads cordoned off citing 'security' in 2015, were shut for a golf course.

Another road closed in Secunderabad cantonment area citizens up in armsThe image taken by locals
news News Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 08:32

Residents in Secunderabad's Cantonment area were in for a shock, as yet another road was allegedly closed down by the Local Military Authority (LMA) without prior notice. 

The closed road was reportedly noticed by commuters and morning walkers using the Rajiv Rahadari, from Hakimpet to Bolarum, on Monday morning.

Along with a board that read “Defence Area No Thoroughfare”, a wooden log was placed right in the middle of the road along with two blue barrels. 

The Hindu reported that a short stretch of road starting at a sharp turn about 500 metres down south of Hakimpet Checkpost, was closed to civilians.

“Though it does not see a lot of regular civilian traffic, it is used to divert vehicles when VIP convoys passes through. Given the narrowness of the sharp turn nearby on the Rajiv Rahadari, closure of this road will prevent diversion,” Jeetender Surana, who noticed the closure during a commute, told The Hindu.

After the Cantonment Act of 2006, Secunderabad was classified as a Category 1 cantonment, owing to its large civilian population.

The Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) is a local municipal authority, that comes under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence, and functions as a local self-government.

Elections are held every five years, and half the members on the board are civilians, while the other half are military nominations.

Meanwhile, the LMA is completely under the control of the Ministry of Defence, and civilians have no say over its decisions.

When contacted, Cantonment chief executive officer SVR Chandrashekar told Deccan Chronicle, “If it is a unit line, nothing much can be done as per directions of High Court. If it happens to be a cantonment road, we will ensure it is re-opened.”

In December 2015, it was alleged by local citizen activists that 10 roads that the LMA had cordoned off citing 'security', were shut for a golf course.

In March this year, after a two-year battle, an RTI reply from the Defence Estate Office (DEO) revealed that only six out of the 12 roads that had been shut in the Golf Course area belonged to the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB).

This conflicted with the SCB's own admission in the Hyderabad High Court, that all the roads being shut, were A1 defence land, under the control of the LMA.

With the move, the army had effectively shut off access to civilians from several acres of land. 

Several thousand residents were affected, including in one instance, where an 800-metre ride, turned into an 8-km ride.

The citizens in the Secunderabad area are also embroiled in another army-civilian conflict over the closure of the Gough Road near AOC centre.

For more than two years now, the Army has been trying to block access of the road to civilians, with residents hitting back with several petitions and rallies.

The road stands open for civilians right now, except between 10pm and 6am.

As of now, the Army has stated that it will close the road from May 30, 2017, and has agreed to coordinate with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) for alternate routes.

 

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