The current faceoff between Army authorities and civilians is also perhaps the result of long-pending road widening plans that were shot down by the former.
In 2007, the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) had prepared an elaborate plan to widen eight main roads in consultation with JNTU-H. The proposal, however, ran into rough weather with the Army, and has not seen the light of the day since.
Two roads – Mahendra Hills to MCEME via Military Hospital, and another five kilometre stretch from Safilguda railway station to Secunderabad Club via AOC Gate, were to be widened in the first phase. These two roads were chosen since very few civilian properties lay in the way. This apart, roads along Sikh village, Tadbund, Bowenpally, Trimulgherry, Bapujinagar and Hashmathpet were also identified for widening.
The Army’s permission was required for taking up the project as a total of 26 acres of land was needed for widening the identified roads, including 10 acres for the two thoroughfares in the first phase.
It was also finalised that the then Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) would take up first-phase works at an estimated Rs.52 crore. This would include the construction of the central median, drains and footpaths.
However, in 2008, Army authorities refused to clear the plans for a long time, saying road-widening could affect training activities.
“But due to our own financial constraints, the project did not take off,” says former vice-president and SCB member J. Pratap.
When SCB authorities again approached senior Army officials last year for permission to begin works, it was denied, he claimed.