Friday, September 25, 2020

KTR writes to Defence Minister over SCB Cantonment road closures

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Hyderabad: Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao, in a letter to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has appealed for the removal of unauthorised roadblocks in the Secunderabad Cantonment area.

In his opening statement, Minister KT Rama Rao said, “I feel compelled to bring to your kind notice about the plight of more than a couple of million citizens living in North and North-Eastern parts of Hyderabad, the State Capital, on account of frequent road blockades and often without any justifiable reasons by the Local Military Authorities of the Secunderabad Cantonment area.”

KT Rama Rao requested Singh to kindly intervene and to instruct the local authorities not to indulge in such closures of roads without following the standard SOP and without having the necessary authorisation from the concerned authorities in respect of all the roads in Secunderabad Cantonment.

The Minister also stated that the local military authorities resort to regulating the traffic at their will on certain roads, which are otherwise the ‘lifeline’ to these parts being the only connecting road, causing untold misery and hardship to the local citizens.

Frequent and mostly sudden and unannounced closure of these important roads such as AOC roads, Gough Road on previous occasions has resulted in widespread resentment among the citizens, he added.

Taking cognisance of these genuine concerns of the citizens, the Ministry of Defence has issued a “Standard Protocol” to be followed by the Local Military Authorities in initiating the process for the closing of roads following the provisions of the Cantonment Act, 2006, duly factoring in the “emergent security needs” of the army.

Rama Rao had also mentioned in the letter that the Local Authorities of the Secunderabad Cantonment, prima-facie, without following the SOP, had shut down four important roads – Allahabad Gate, Gough Road, Wellington Road and Ordinance Road for 10 days in July 2020 citing a surge in COVID 19 cases in the City.

Lakhs of commuters from localities like Yapral, Kowkur, Bollarum, Trimulgherry using the roads either to go to workplaces or residences have faced much hardship.

“It was illogical to try to stop the spread of the pandemic by closing public roads. Residents had been forced to take long detours at a time when public transport is not available. One can also imagine the tremendous tragedies that can occur during medical emergencies if such road blockades are allowed. The irony is that such a block is initiated unilaterally without following the established procedure and disregarding the public interest. This has simply aggravated the discomfort of the Citizens during the period of Pandemic”

said Rao.

There are about 25 public roads in the Secunderabad Cantonment Area which are prone to such arbitrary closures for traffic.

Minister Rama Rao also mentioned that there is an elected council in SCB and necessary protocols following the Cantonment Act 2006 should be followed whenever such closures are envisaged.

Further, the elected Council of the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB), as contemplated under Section 258 of Cantonment Act 2006 may also be consulted and taken into confidence for the closure of a public street, he said.

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