Hyderabad: The Cantonment area will not merge with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), not even in the next 20 years, according to officials of the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB).
The SCB authorities believed that the State government and a few organisations were misleading the general public over the possibility of a merger. According to officials, the Defense Ministry has just sent the State Government recommendations to explore the advantages and disadvantages of the merger. The defence ministry was also actively contemplating the merger only at the frontiers.
All of the state governments have received proposals from the Indian government’s ministry of defence on the possibility of the merger and its modalities. However, it has been determined that just a small portion — 10 to 15 percent — of the total SCB land — a few pockets of the civilian areas—each with 1,000 to 1,500 residents — were proposed for merger. The state government is under the wrong perception that the entire SCB will be merged and the proposal is made only for the civic amenities, said an SCB official requesting anonymity.
The merger is not yet finalised. Currently, it is simply at the discussions and proposal stage. Few organisations, including the state government, merely want to lead people astray.
The Cantonment residents have been affected by the state government’s lack of involvement in developing the Cantonment area, said J. Ramakrishna, SCB vice-president.
The SCB had been repeatedly requesting the State government to implement the welfare programmes not just in GHMC limits but also in Cantonment areas too, he said while adding that the state government was ignoring the SCB pleas.
“Why isn’t the state government providing funds for infrastructure development in the Cantonment area. Why is the state government ignoring the pathetic road conditions in Cantonment areas? Why aren’t nalas being improved and why is that the Cantonment areas always experiencing acute water problem,” he questioned.
Further, SCB staff is governed by the cantonment fund employees’ rules. They are not directly under the state or the central government. The basic hierarchy is limited here. In case they adopt the state or central government policies, the growth of the employees would be much higher, added officials.
“Even if the merger takes place, the Cantonment Board will still retain the employees. Even if something takes shape, the full formation will take 20 years. The staff would serve the Board if the merger took through because it would only affect 10 to 15 percent of the SCB’s territory and 90 percent of the SCB would still be functioning,” said officials.
Rama Krishna claimed that the state government was being overenthusiastic about the SCB merger with GHMC due to its hunger to usurp lands in Cantonment areas. “We requested a little extra time to turn in all the paperwork. The state government’s interest will completely wane and they will be extremely astonished once they learn the actual quantity of land that is intended to be merged. Very little civilian land is being proposed for merger,” he stated.
Meanwhile, another official said that the Army has provided an area for alternate roads. It is the state government’s duty to develop infrastructure there. “Why don’t they do something? K. T. Rama Rao, the minister of municipal administration and urban development for Telangana, frequently asserts that neither the Indian government nor the Ministry of Defence support the state government. The Indian government and the ministry of defence have both given its approval to all of the state government’s proposals. It is the state government that is not living up to its words,” said the SCB official.