NEW DELHI: As the controversy involving the Secunderabad Cantonment continues, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Army's Dakshin Bharat Area Lt Gen A Arun is awaiting a meeting with Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development KT Rama Rao.
KT Rama Rao, popularly known as KRT, had on Saturday threatened to cut power and drinking water supply to defence areas in Secunderabad cantonment on Saturday.
Speaking to TNIE, a source said, “Lt Gen A Arun, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Army's Dakshin Bharat Area based at Chennai will be meeting the Hon'ble Minister to clear any misapprehensions about Army's activities.” GoC Dakshin Bharat Area is the administration in charge of five States Telegana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
Soldiers staying in the area have expressed dismay as “this threat will directly affect the Army personnel and families residing in Secunderabad Cantonment area during their peacetime tenure for a brief period of one to two years,”, said the source. These troops will move to field areas after this posting, the source added.
Secunderabad Cantonment is the second-largest cantonment board after Bhatinda and houses the Telangana and Andhra Sub Area. Also, the important fighting division Bison Divison also comes under the sub-area.
The sources added that many allegations made against the local military authority are unsubstantiated including the ones that Army authorities are blocking roads and are stopping developmental works causing inconvenience to the civilians.
“There has been no road closure in the recent past or there have been any complaints in this regard. Even on the Republic Day this year, the Cantonment roads were open. In fact, a Parliamentary Standing Committee visited Secunderabad Cantonment last year, and returned fully satisfied after reviewing the arrangements made to open roads in the Cantonment area,” sources further added.
“Local Military Authorities (LMA) have not put any impediments in the Strategic Nala Development Programme (SNDP). In fact, sources said that they haven’t received any proposal from the State Government on this project.”
Army Sources pointed that there is a proposal pertaining to the Strategic Road Development Programme (SRDP), details of which are repeatedly being sought from the State Government.
The other project pertains to a proposed 'SkyWalk' close to Mehdipatnam Garrison for which a ‘No Objection Certificate’ has already been recommended by the LMA, as it is in the public interest, said the sources.
Another issue of the 'Check Dam at Balkapur Nala', is actually a Sewage diversion Project/Arrangement, constructed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), for which work permission was accorded by the Defence Ministry in 2012, said the sources and added “Army has not constructed it. This check dam separates the stormwater from sewage. During heavy rains, the stormwater floods the neighbouring civil areas along with the garrison because the exit portion of the drain is narrow. Since construction has been done by GHMC, it has to be resolved by them for which the Army has assured all necessary support.” Army authorities had also replied with all relevant details to a letter from Hyderabad MP Assaduddin Owaisi last year, they added
“We were the first responders during the time of the crisis and were actively involved when the COVID pandemic was at its peak. Local Military authorities proactively reached out to district and state Administration to provide assistance even to the extent of mobilising resources and equipment from outside State boundaries.”
Expressing the pain, an officer pointed, “The statement made by the Hon’ble Minister on the floor of the State Assembly has deeply hurt the feelings of Army Personnel and their families stationed in Telangana.
The Local Military Authorities have repeatedly assured full cooperation with the State Government Authorities so that no inconvenience is ever caused to the inhabitants of the City, the officer said.