Protests as SCB fails to address roads closure

Army officials did not announce any relief on the fast approaching May 31 deadline for the Gough Road closure.

Hyderabad: The Secunderabad Cantonment Board meeting on Monday saw heated arguments between the board’s defence and ward members on the issue of road closures by the local Army authorities even as residents of affected colonies protested at the board office.

Army officials did not announce any relief on the fast approaching May 31 deadline for the Gough Road closure. Instead they said that unless the ministry of defence gives further orders, Gough Road (All Saints Church Road) would be shut for civilians at the month-end.

Hundreds of residents gathered at the SCB office on Monday afternoon demanding that the ward members resign as they failed to address the road closure issue. The board meeting shifted to the defence officers conference hall due to the protests.

Ms Jayasree, a resident of Sainikpuri, alleged, “My driver was thrashed by Army jawans as he wanted to take the AOC route. Is this the way the Army behaves.? Lakhs of people are denied right of way with the Army closing the roads.”

Mr Victor Das said the road to the Holy Trinity church at Bolaram was barricaded without any dialogue with the church committee. The road has been used ever since the church was constructed 167 years ago, he said. “Initially, they fenced the approach road, and later they blocked the road by constructing a wooden wall. The Army is also preventing the use of the main church gate, and threatening church goers to use the southern gate.”

The road closure issue was not included in the board’s agenda and was not discussed at the beginning. Towards the end, the topic was highlighted. Ward 5 member J. Rama Krishna said, “The board has not even considered recording the ward members’ voice on the issue. Secunderabad Canton-ment unlike Mathura Cantonment has not followed the ministry of defence order, issued on January 7, asking for all roads to be opened. How can residents of Yapral and Bolaram commute when the Army has closed all the connecting roads?”

SCB president Brig. A.S. Negi said the GHMC and Army officials had finalised the alternative routes and the state government will begin work to build new roads.

Regarding Gough Road, he said there was no direction from the MoD on extension. “For residents living in Yapral, there are three roads open. Those making a hue and cry were worried as their property values dropped. Why have civilians not considered opening road routes like those from Sai Baba temple, Mani enclave and in Yapral? Roads closed fall in the Army’s jurisdiction. No cantonment road has been closed.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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