Hyderabad: Raising the issue of unauthorized road blockades imposed by local authorities in Secunderabad Cantonment and the inconvenience caused by this to the residents and farmers, MAUD Minister KT Rama Rao appealed to the Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh for removal of such unauthorised road blocks.
In a letter to the Union Defence Minister, Rao appealed him to intervene and instruct the local authorities not to indulge in such closures of roads without following the SOP and without having necessary authorisation from authorities concerned in respect of all the roads in Secunderabad Cantonment.
More importantly, the elected Council of the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB), as contemplated under Section 258 of Cantonment Act 2006 also could be consulted and taken into confidence for closure of a public street.
Rao said he was compelled to inform about the plight of more than couple of million citizens living in north and north-eastern parts of Hyderabad, on account of frequent road blockades and often without any justifiable reasons. The local military authorities resort to regulate 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 local citizens, he said.
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 had also issued a ‘Standard Protocol’ to be followed by the local military authorities in initiating the process for closing of roads, duly factoring in the “emergent security needs” of the army.
However, the local Authorities of 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 work places or residences have faced much hardship, he pointed out.
“It was illogical to try to stop the spread of the pandemic by closing public roads. Residents have been forced to take long detours at a time when public transport is not available. The irony is that such a block is initiated unilaterally without following the established procedure and disregarding the public interest. This has subjected the residents to lot of discomfort during the period of pandemic,” the Minister said.
There are about 25 public roads in Secunderabad Cantonment Area, which are prone to such arbitrary closures for traffic. Listing out the concerns about closure of these roads at any time in future, he said all these roads were admittedly open to 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 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 were affected on a daily basis, Rao pointed out.
Further, these roads were being 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, he informed the Defence Minister.
Rao also mentioned that there is an elected council in SCB and necessary protocols in accordance with the Cantonment Act 2006 should be followed whenever such closures were envisaged.
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