The local army and civilians have been embroiled in a conflict over the issue, for three years.

People-friendly army can impose curbs Army Chief on Secunderabad Gough Road closure File photo: Nitin B
news News Sunday, June 18, 2017 - 13:26

Saying that they were a ‘people-friendly’ army, the Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said that there was no way that the Army units could be moved away from the people, while responding  to questions about the citizen-Army spat over the closure of the Gough Road and on imposing restrictions for certain roads. 

The General was in Hyderabad, and was answering questions from media persons, after attending a grand Graduation Parade at the Air Force Academy Dundigal.

“It is the local officers who take a call on restrictions on road. The concerns of security are decided by LMA. Each station LMA will take a call on what measures are to be taken by putting some restrictions on movement. We cannot even tell what is there in a particular area," Rawat was quoted as saying.

In February 2014, the LMA had issued a notice, saying that it planned to close the Gough Road at AOC Centre to civilians, citing 'security and administration' issues.

The possible closure of the arterial road, which is used by more than 1 lakh residents everyday, saw several residents and organisations take to the streets, demanding that it remain open.

Since then, the LMA has been firm on closing the road but has been constantly extending deadlines, to allow the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to build alternate roads. 

The latest extension came on May 31 after the LMA received internal instructions from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to keep the road open to civilians.

The road still continues to be closed to civilians between 10pm and 7am. Only emergency services like ambulances and fire engines are allowed to pass through.

While the GHMC submitted a Detailed Project Report (DPR) and sought Rs 115 crore, to lay alternate roads last month, construction work is yet to start.

Meanwhile, General Bipin Rawat also answered questions related to the Kashmir issue.

"Security forces and all agencies are doing a great job to bring the situation under control. Some parts of south Kashmir are troublesome. Necessary action is being taken. I don't think there should be any cause of worry," the Army Chief told reporters

Speaking about the April 9 controversy over using a civilian as a human shield against stone-pelters in Kashmir, the General said every action was taken "considering the nature of task that we are expected to carry out under the circumstances".

"We are an Army which believes very strongly in human rights and we have a very good human rights record," he added.

The Army Chief also blamed "misinformation and disinformation" being spread in the state for the trouble, that was forcing youth to take up arms.

With IANS inputs