Need 500m safety zone, says Army

Army needs 500 metres of safety zone around defence property for constructing houses Secunderabad Cantonment limits.
Hyderabad: One will soon have to obtain a “security clearance” from the Local Military Authority (LMA) for constructing houses within 500 metres of a defence property within the Secunderabad Cantonment limits.
At present, though the rule is in place for the entire state, it is not strictly implemented. The Defence Ministry wants it to be implemented in the Secunderabad Cantonment.
The state government has included this clause in its building rules issued in GO No. 168.
Major General C.A. Pithawala, General Officer Commanding, Andhra Sub Area, said that there are a large number of military installations and training institutions within the Cantonment limits and after the 26/11 attacks, the defence ministry had issued certain security guidelines that had to be followed by the Army in connection with allowing buildings near defence owned properties.
Giving examples, he said that in the GHMC area too, there are defence properties and the municipal corporation forwards building applications to the LMA if they are within the 500-metre range.
Maj. Gen. Pithawala added that this year itself, 450 such applications had been sent to the LMA, out of which 310 were cleared while only 20 were rejected as they were grossly infringing on security aspects. The remaining applications were in various stages of clearance, he said.
“We have been more than fair and accommodating. I don’t think we can be more accommodating than this. Already 40 acres of the 12,000 acres owned by defence in the Cantonment have been encroached. The roads are being blocked only in case of A-1 category lands for security reasons. This is the people’s Army. We would not like people to be inconvenienced. Only those roads are being blocked where alternative main roads are available,” said Maj. Gen. Pithawala.
He also congratulated the demolition drive by the Cantonment authorities against illegal constructions.
Elected ward members, meanwhile, were not too happy with the ‘500 metres security clearance’ clause. “Why is there a need to implement the security clearance rule in the Cantonment? All building plans in the Cantonment are approved by the Board that comprises officers from the Army, officials of the SCB and elected ward members. It is useful in the GHMC area because there are no Army officers in the GHMC Town Planning wing.
This clause will only result in harassment of citizens who have to run around offices to get NOCs or security clearances from the LMA,” said J. Anuradha Ramakrishna, a ward member.
( Source : dc )
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