SCB Residents Dejected with One-Year Extension to Board

HYDERABAD: After the defence ministry extended the tenure of Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) and those of 55 other boards across the country on Tuesday, residents, especially those who were hoping that a merger with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporations (GHMC) would happen soon, were left dejected.

Former SCB president J. Maheshwar, speaking to Deccan Chronicle, said that the very Cantonment Act, 2006 cited in Tuesday’s one-year extension order, allows the extension of the board by six months twice, and not longer than that.
"I filed a case in the High Court in 2022, which also opined that an election should happen," he said.
Joint secretary (defence) Rakesh Mittal issued official orders that the new term, beginning on February 11, would continue until February 10, 2025. "In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (h) of sub-section (1) and sub-section (4) of section 13 of the Cantonment Act, 2006 (41 of 2006), the Central Government, on being satisfied that for the administration of certain Cantonments, it is desirable to vary the constitution of the Cantonment Boards relating thereto where the term of the members shall expire on 10 February 2024, hereby makes a declaration to vary the constitution of Cantonment Boards with effect from the 11 February 2024, for a period of one year, or still such time the said Boards are constituted under section 12 of the said Act, whichever is earlier," Mittal said in the orders.
Nominated civilian member Rama Krishna said that the clause pertained to an ordinary tenure, but the ministry had changed the status from an ordinary board to a varied board more than a year back.
"Another reason for the Centre's extension includes the ongoing excision of civil areas that are to be merged with the local municipal body. The Cantonment Act, 2020, too, which was tabled twice in last year’s monsoon and winter sessions of Parliament, could not be discussed, hence conducting an election now before the completion of either of these would only mean a waste of time and resources," he said.
He added that such an issue had happened back in 2006 when SCB elections were held before the Cantonment Act 2006 was passed, and the new board was considered null and void and another election had to be conducted.
Elections were held on January 11, 2015, and the tenure of the SCB electedbody ended on January 10, 2020. After this, the ministry extended its tenure by six months stating that the Cantonment Amendment Bill 2020 was pending before Parliament.
The elections were scheduled on April 30, 2023, but were called off at the last minute.
"The Central government is not clear if they will bring the new Cantonment Act as they have been saying for the last four years, or if they will merge it into GHMC or conduct an election. How long can about four-lakh people depend on a single nominated member? Regular constituencies have corporators and then an MLA, why should we be deprived of our rights to good governance? The board is always in deficit and a day may come when employees may not receive their pay either,"said another resident Rakesh M.T

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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