Road widening in the SCB limits is riddled with problems aplenty: dearth of funds, difficulty in acquiring Army land, and even opposition from public representatives
While neighbouring GHMC has been laying much emphasis on improving the road network and widening thoroughfares, the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) has been oblivious to all this.
Save the widening of a few culverts in some localities a few years ago, the SCB has done little to address long-pending demands for better roads. With most of its main roads leading to the suburbs of Kukatpally, Malkajgiri and Alwal, the roads are choc-a-bloc with commuters.
In fact, the road space shrinks to 20 feet at some areas, while many are not more than 40-feet wide. Such narrow roads are resulting in frequent traffic jams, the consequences of which are felt in surrounding areas too.
With no proper underground sewerage network or storm-water drains in the Cantt. areas, most roads get damaged because of water overflow.
The dearth of funds, disinclination of the Army to part with land, and even opposition from public representatives - problems for the SCB are manifold.
However, elected board members claim road widening had been taken up on the Sikh village-Diamond point stretch as also the Tadbund crossroads–Martan café one, but it was later suspended due to lack of funds.
“At a recent board meeting, members had approved widening of the Murtaz road at a cost of Rs. 62 lakh this year,” says a board member.
Culvert widening on the Brig. Sayeed Road, Bapuji Nagar, Laxminagar in Picket, Indiramma Nagar and new ones at Jaya Nagar, Bowenpally and P& T Colony in Balamrai have been pending for long.
The Brig. Sayeed Road connecting the Mumbai-Balanagar highway to Nagpur Road, needs to be widened urgently. Authorities had planned to widen it to 12.5 metres, facilitating four-lane traffic with a divider. These plans are yet to fructify.
Some cause for cheer
Road widening works in the Cantt. area got a boost when top Army officials from the Southern Command headquarters discussed modalities of the plans at a recent meeting. Two main roads – the eight-km stretch from Mahendra Hills to MCEME via Military Hospital, and another five-km stretch from Safilguda railway station to Secunderabad Club via AOC Gate – have been identified.
The total cost was estimated to be about Rs.52 crore including a central median, drains and footpaths. About 26 acres of defence land was required including 10 acres for the two roads as very few civilian properties had to be acquired.
Though army authorities had agreed to part their lands an official notification changing the Defence land from category of A-1 to ‘C’ to permit widening is yet to be done. Board president Sunil S Bodhe had already assured board members to pursue the issue with higher officials. He also hinted at a land barter to expedite the approval from the top defence authorities.