HYDERABAD: Amidst the ongoing row between the residents of areas falling under the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) and the Local Military Authority over reopening of all 25 roads, the residents have brought to light the fact that the SCB, in fact, does not have a master plan to resolve several other issues.
Last year the SCB had requested the Hyderabad Metropolitan Authority (HMDA) to draw up a plan for it to tackle the issues of sewage, road network and water crisis so that it need not rely on GHMC. The HMDA demanded payment from SCB for preparing a master plan but the latter is learnt to be unwilling to pay.
SCB, an urban local body, is under the administrative control of the ministry of defence. It is responsible for meeting the civic requirements of the residents of the Cantonment area. SCB is the country’s second-largest cantonment and two-thirds of its residents are civilians. Yet, till date, there has never been a master plan for the area which is about 40 sq km.
The last time it prepared a development plan (not a master plan) was in 2006 and the proposed works were to be taken up in the following five to six years. These included improving the road network, water supply, drainage lines and traffic management. Regrettably, no work could be taken up as the board did not receive funds from the ministry of defence.
Meanwhile, the master plan proposed by SCB a year ago is entangled in bureaucracy and, as a result, the estimated cost of the proposed works has escalated. This long delay in the execution of the plan is adding to the woes of the residents of dozens of colonies. Sewage overflows at several places as the sewer lines that were laid post country’s independence have become very old and weak. Most of the drainage lines were laid during the British rule and no efforts have been made to replace them ever since.
Speaking to Express, SCB vice-president J Ramakrishna said, “We have submitted a report to the ministry of defence seeking funds for preparation and implementation of master plan. Apart from seeking release of the pending service charges amounting to Rs 468 crore, we will ask them to streamline the annual allotment of service charges to the board. We can implement the master plan only with the money received towards service charges.”
When will LMA respond?
Responding to Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s remarks on the issue of opening of roads in cantonments, where he positively spoke in favour of civilians’ demand, the residents of SCB wondered when the Local Military Authority (LMA) will respond to the MoD’s orders which they have failed to follow. When contacted, J Rama Krishna, SCB V-P said, “We have demanded the LMA to implement the orders issued by the defence minister and remove walls and barricades blocking roads.” He said after completing one-month observation on traffic flow at open roads, LMA is going submit the report to SCB. At that time we will accept only on open roads data in SCB, he added.