HYDERABAD: While Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman responded to concerns with respect to the safety and security of roads in all 62 cantonments in the country, as raised by army personnel, after they were ordered by the ministry to be opened for thoroughfare, residents of Secunderabad Cantonment Board wondered when the Local Military Authority (LMA) will respond to the MoD’s orders, which they have failed to follow.
S Chandrasekhar, spokesperson of Federation of North Eastern Colonies of Secunderabad, said: “MoD is responding on the issue of roads. The LMA should give clarity on orders issued by the Defence minister. We demand the LMA to implement the orders issued by the defence minister and remove the walls and barricades blocking roads.” According to him, all 14 plus roads should be opened immediately.
Another activist Open Secunderabad Cantonment All Roads (OSCAR) spokesperson S Chandrasekhar said, “We welcome the raksha manthri’s statements. We request the MoD to depute high ranking officials to see the state of affairs of roads in SCB. These roads remain closed even after the MoD’s orders. Those who have not followed the orders fully should be transferred immediately and an inquiry must be conducted.”
The minister on Tuesday, speaking on the sidelines of a press conference, had said that there are approximately 850 cantonment roads (except unit lines) across India and of these 119 had been closed without following due procedure. Eighty of 119 roads have been opened. According to her, 24 roads, which were closed without following the due procedure still remain closed.
Stating that the ministry was concerned for the security of families of servicemen, she said: “LMA and concerned stakeholders will do the review. If you decide to close the roads based on intelligence input, you are welcome to do so. But follow the due procedure. The procedure means that you will make the announcement (one in English and two in local newspapers) and inform the cantonment board. And then you can close the road.”
Further, she said, “If the Cantonment Board receives a request for closure of road from LMA, it must send the proposal to Ministry of Defence for its decision. Before submitting plans for closure, the Cantonment Board shall follow the process of issuing a public notice and considering public objections. It shall explain circumstance and reasons for the closure of any road.”