KTR writes Defence Minister on the closure of roads in Secunderabad

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Minister for Municipal Administration KT Rama Rao seeks the intervention of Defence Minister in indiscriminate closures of roads by the military authorities in Secunderabad Cantonment area.

In a letter to the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, KTR appealed to remove the unauthorised roadblocks in Secunderabad Cantonment area. The letters read as below:

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“I feel compelled to bring to your kind notice about the plight of more than a couple of million citizens living in North & 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.”

KTR requested the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to kindly intervene and to instruct the local authorities not to indulge in such closures of roads without following the standard SOP & without having the necessary authorisation from the concerned authorities in respect of all the roads in Secunderabad Cantonment.

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.

Taking cognizance 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 in accordance with the provisions of the Cantonment Act, 2006, duly factoring in the “emergent security needs” of the army.

Minister KTR 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 Minister KTR.

There are about 25 Public Roads in the Secunderabad Cantonment Area, which are prone to such arbitrary closures for traffic. Minister also listed the concerns about the closure of these roads at any time in future would emanate from the following factors:

  • All these roads were admittedly open to the public since their inception, some of which are of more than 100 years of existence;
  • Most of these roads lie in a narrow strip of land which extends approximately 10 km in the
    the north-south direction along the arterial Rajiv Rahadari Highway. Closure of these roads would cut-off north-eastern areas of the City from this artery, which is their main access to the rest of the City. Over 10 lakh citizens are affected on a daily basis;
  • Historically these roads were used by farmers from villages in the eastern areas of Nagaram, Kapra, etc to access markets to dispose their produce such as Risala Bazar, Bolarum Bazar, Pioneer Bazar, Doveton Bazar, Lal Bazar, etc – all of which are located on the western side of the Cantonment; and
  • All these areas are “Streets” as defined in Sec 2 (a) of Cantonment Act 2006 and thus access to them is an everyone’s prerogative;
  • Minister KTR also mentioned that there is an elected council in SCB & necessary protocols in accordance with 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.