SCB residents fume over Rs five crore grant-in-aid

Hyderabad: Secunderabad Cantonment residents are decrying the 'meagre' Rs five crore grant-in-aid given by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB). The money, meant to be spent on infrastructure in the 2023-24 financial year, is in addition to the Rs 10 crore sanctioned by MoD in February.

"The government wants us to generate more money internally instead of simply depending on its aid" an official told DC.

According to him, their revenue sources include property taxes from residents, which is approximately Rs 30 crore and about Rs 10 crore from defence authorities, despite a proposed demand for over Rs 70 crore, and revenue in the form of service charges from the air force, which is around Rs 15 crore, state government properties to the tune of Rs two to three crore and from Telangana road transport corporation and Begumpet airport, among others. The toll tax that was done away with earlier this year fetched about Rs 10 crore in revenue.

The MoD had sanctioned Rs 300 crore to 48 deficit cantonment boards in the country. The allocations are based on the proposals put forth by cantonment board CEOs outlining the various works that have been lined up.

According to SCB CEO Madhukar Naik, they had sought grant-in-aid for the Rs 19 crore deficit, of which only Rs five crore has been approved. "We hope to get more by the end of the financial year," he said.

Ravinder S, a resident, questioned how this money would be enough to take up works pertaining to the nala, repairs and water supply networks, among others, in SCB’s eight wards.

"There will be nothing left after undertaking repairs and water supplies, salaries and maintenance works," he said.

Another SCB member said that the money that is granted depends on lobbying by the nominated members.

"How else can one explain Pune Cantonment, which has a population of about 98,000, getting Rs 25 crore while Secunderabad, which has five lakh population, gets only Rs five crore?" he wondered.

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