Residents of Secunderabad's cantonment area have written to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman complaining that the walls erected and gates closed by the Local Military Authority (LMA), have still not been opened, 25 days after the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) order to reopen all roads.
"25 days have now passed since the May 21 order to remove blockages on all Cantonment roads and reopen them to public. Unfortunately, 14 roads are still closed," the letter by CS Chandrasekhar, Secretary, Federation of North Eastern Colonies of Secunderabad (FNECS), said.
The citizens especially wanted to draw the attention of the Union Minister to four major blockades.
"The wall at Lakdawala Junction Bolarum, opposite Ayyappa Swami Temple on Rajiv Rahadari (State Highway 1), blocks a major access between SH1 and Yapral, Balaji Nagar and Kowkoor. It is also a major connecting road between State Highway 1 and Tarnaka-Keesara Road," the letter stated.
"The wall at Ammuguda Junction is the major access between Sainikpuri and Kapra on one side, and Bolarum and Shamirpet on SH1, on the other. The closed Gate at Eagle Chowk is an arterial access road from the Sainikpuri-Lothkunta Road to Hakimpet and Shamirpet. The wall under the Rama Krishna Puram flyover, outside the Signals Office blocks the U-Turn on the Service Road under the flyover on this extremely busy road," the residents pointed out.
Stating that these blockages lead to long detours for commuters, residents also pointed out that the remaining few roads get very congested.
"It is extremely disturbing that these blockages continue despite clear orders to LMA from MoD. Public are also concerned as to what statistics will be submitted by LMA after the expiry of the 30-day period, when major roads have not even been opened yet. We request you to order an immediate ground level assessment to determine which roads are still closed in Secunderabad Cantonment, and to ensure immediate reopening of all closed roads," the letter concludes.
Meanwhile, another city group fighting for the same cause, shot off a letter to Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra.
"We are extremely sad and pained to say that despite clear instructions to reopen all roads, several roads are still closed in Secunderabad Cantonment. It is also very disturbing that the categorical orders of the MoD have not been followed and LMA has not announced any schedule of reopening or restrictions on any roads. In fact, there is total silence by them on the matter," the letter by S Chandrasekhar from Open Secunderabad Cantonment All Roads (OSCAR) states.
Stating that the issue was already taken up with Addl. DG (Lands/IT), Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE) Ajay Kumar Sharma, the letter rues that the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) has also stayed silent about the schedules and restrictions. No queries on the subject are being answered.
"How will statistics be gathered and communicated if roads are not even opened? There is growing apprehension among civilians that grounds are being prepared to keep roads closed on some pretext or the other and furnish wrong statistics to MoD. We therefore request you to depute teams immediately, with the participation of elected representatives and citizens, to study ground level implementation of the reopening orders, and to ensure that all roads are opened forthwith," the letter concludes.
Secunderabad cantonment is a densely populated area with 4 lakh civilians living inside it and another 6 lakh living in the areas abutting it.
The closure of roads affected several residents living in adjoining areas such as Marredpally, Neredmet, Safilguda, Sainikpuri, Ammuguda and Yapral, among several others, impacting almost 10 lakh citizens.
Citizens have been up in arms as the LMA, over a period of time, shut 25 roads in the area. Some of these included arterial roads that turned even an 800-metre ride into an 8-km detour.