Telangana Minister for IT, Municipal Administration and Urban Development KT Rama Rao urged the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to instruct the Local Military Authorities of the Secunderabad Cantonment Board for restraint in unauthorised blockage of roads.
In a letter to the defence minister, KTR stated that the closure of AOC roads by the Local Military Authorities SCB (LMA of Secunderabad Cantonment Board) was affecting millions of citizens daily, dwelling in the north and north-eastern parts of Hyderabad City.
KTR had earlier written a series of letters to the Defence Ministry requesting their intervention in resolving the long-pending issue. “In an arbitrary and unauthorised manner, the Local Authorities are frequently resorting to the closure of these roads, resulting in untold misery to large sections of people as they have to take detours to commute daily,” he added.
The Minister said that in July 2020, the LMA has shut down four important roads, Allahabad Gate, Gough Road, Wellington Road, and Ordinance Road citing a surge in Covid-19 cases. “It is distressing to note these roads are closed often for reasons bordering on frivolity. The State had taken up all required necessary measures to contain Covid including lockdown in May/June and seeing the improvement, the lockdown was eased and, surprisingly, roads are now closed for aforesaid reasons,” said KTR.
Rao also pointed out that no public roads can be closed by the Local Military Authority / any Authority other than a Cantonment Board (SCB in this case) and without following the procedure laid down under Section 258 of the Cantonment Act 2006. The LMA often takes shelter under an order of the High Court of AP dated 26.09.2014.
The Minister highlighted the fact that the Ministry of Defence in September 2018 has reviewed the matter of the closure of roads and superseding all above orders or anything contained therein has insisted on the absolute necessity to follow the procedure prescribed under Section 258 of the Cantonment Act, 2006 and has directed that no public road in the Cantonment shall be closed by the LMA / CB without following the due process as set out thereunder.
“So far as the High Court order dated 26.09.2014 is concerned, the State Govt have requested the Defence Ministry to hand over 42.202 acres of land for the purpose duly waiving the cost of land for transfer, the license fee for elevated portion and also a waiver of property compensations. The same was discussed in the last video conference held on April 20, 2021, convened by the secretary MoD and was agreed upon by Gol. We are awaiting instructions on this,” the Minister said.
“By blatantly defying all SOPs, guidelines, and instruction of MoD, the continued closure of roads and in fact, LMA adding more roads to such closures is regretful and disappointing. Apart from it leading to innumerable sufferings to millions of people, the LMA is almost disobeying and neglecting its SOP and guidelines,” said KTR.
The Minister requested the Defence Ministry to pass necessary instructions to the LMA Hyderabad to immediately open all these roads and further restrain them from taking any unilateral and arbitrary decision for closure of any of the public roads without following the due process, as contemplated under Section 258 of Cantonment Act 2006.