Centre clears decks for merger of Cantonment, GHMC

The proprietary rights over assets meant for civic amenities and municipal services in the excised areas will be transferred to state governments or state municipalities at no cost.
Union Defence Secretary A Giridhar
Union Defence Secretary A Giridhar

HYDERABAD: In a major development, the Centre has broad guidelines and principles for excising civil areas of Cantonments nationwide, including Hyderabad. The guidelines were issued following a meeting chaired by Union Defence Secretary A Giridhar.

According to the guidelines, proprietary rights over assets meant for civic amenities and municipal services in the excised areas will be transferred to state governments or state municipalities at no cost. This includes the transfer of assets and liabilities of the Cantonment Boards to the state municipality, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation in this instance. Municipal oversight of leased or old grant properties in the excised area will also shift to the municipality.

Discussions during the meeting highlighted that the proprietary rights over Cantonment Board assets intended for municipal services and civic amenities are to be transferred free of cost to the municipality or local body. The territorial jurisdiction of the State Municipality will extend to the entire civil areas of the Cantonments, excluding the Military station. However, the Centre will retain title rights over the land it owns.

The guidelines further specify that local municipal laws will apply to the handed-over civil areas, allowing the state municipality to impose local taxes and fees.

The security concerns of the Armed Forces will be prioritised, especially in cases where privately held lands (such as agricultural leases) near Military stations are involved. These cases will be considered individually.

It may be mentioned here that Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy had taken the initiative to solve the long pending merger of civil areas of Cantonment Board with the GHMC by taking up the matter with the Defence Minister during his every visit to Delhi. The chief minister had also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to solve the issue during the latter’s visit to Telangana on March 5.

The Cantonment Vikas Manch thanked Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, Secunderabad Cantonment MLA Sri Ganesh and Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane for making the merger a reality.

Chief Secretary Santhi Kumari confirmed that the government had already responded to the Union government’s proposal for excising civil areas of the SCB and merging them with GHMC. “The Telangana government is keen to complete the process quickly,” she stated.

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