Members and vice-presidents of Cantonment Boards across the country urged the government to amend the Cantonment Act, facilitating election of board president directly by residents, inclusion of MP, local MLA and two nominated persons as members of the Board with voting right and other provisions.
These requests were put forth to the Union Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju at a meeting of the All India Cantonment Boards Vice-Presidents and Members Association held in New Delhi on Thursday.
Elected representatives from Secunderabad Cantonment Board ward three – J. Pratap and ward four – J. Venkat Rao attended the meeting.
The association members were of the opinion that with army personnel involving as board members, cantonment residents were being treated as second-class citizens. No government servant is entitled to become the member of any constituted body, hence the Cantonment Board president should also be elected by residents directly, said J. Pratap.
The association members demanded that MP, local MLA and two persons nominated by the Central government shall be made members of the board with voting right. They further requested for inclusion of Health Officer, Garrison engineer and a representative of District Magistrate as members of the advisory committee of the board without any voting right.
Besides this, members wanted the Chief Executive Officer to function as Secretary of the board and not as a member.
The members appealed to Mr. Raju to sanction salaries to elected representatives of boards from the year 2008. Many other aspects, including payment of dues to different cantonment boards were also discussed during the meeting, added Mr. Pratap.