With residents of Hyderabad protesting the closure of Gough Road (Army Ordnance Corps Road), Telangana Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao said on Thursday he would take up the matter with the Ministry of Defence immediately.
He even tagged the state Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar in a tweet and directed him to follow up on the issue as it affects lakhs of residents in the Secunderabad Cantonment and its adjoining areas.
Responding to a query in the Legislative Council about more roads being blocked in the cantonment area, KTR expressed his angst at the Ministry of Defence for not having a dialogue with regard to the Strategic Road Development Project (SRDP), which includes expansion of two arterial roadsâ€”Rajiv Rahadari and NH-44.
Since the roads pass through Defence land, the state was willing to give the Army 600 acres of land in Rangareddy district. However, despite numerous visits by the Chief Minister to Delhi, the project never materialised.
â€śThe Defence Ministry is testing the patience of the people surrounding the Cantonment area by creating hurdles at every step. The Centre seems to be intent on stopping road development, notwithstanding the problems faced by the common man,â€ť Telangana Today quoted KTR as saying.
â€śRoads that had been used for several decades, and where no security concerns were noted, were closed after arbitrarily serving notices. Even the GHMC is being made to suffer. This is very unfortunate and not good at all,â€ť he said, Deccan Chronicle reported.
This is the first time that the state government has responded strongly to the restrictions on civilian movement in the Cantonment areas.
Recently, in the Rajya Sabha, replying to the query of the status of the closure of the Cantonment roads, the Minister of State for Defence, Subash Bhamre, said that the Cantonment roads will be closed from May 30, 2018, as per the deadline announced earlier.
The issue of road closure has been a long-standing one between civilians and the Army. In 2015, the Army had closed down the arterial roads, citing security concerns. However, after pleas from several local leaders and the municipal body, they gave a deadline to create an alternate road which kept extending from 2016 to 2017, as the roads hadnâ€™t been laid yet.
Though the roads are now open for public, nonetheless, the restrictions on civilians continue to prevail. Vehicles will not be allowed from 10 pm to 7 am, except for ambulances.
The closure of roads affects hundreds of residents living in areas abutting the AOC like Marredpally, Neredmet, East Anandbagh, Yapral, Sainikpuri, Safilguda, Moula Ali, Ammuguda and Gandhi Nagar, among several others.