Controversy on opening of cantonment roads resolved
New Delhi , August 10 : The controversy over the Defence Ministry's orders to open the roads passing through the Cantonments has been put to rest with the standardised protocol.
The issue of the closure of roads in Cantonments was raised during the meeting, which took place by Union Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman with Members of the Parliament (MPs) and elected Vice Presidents of the 62 Cantonment Boards on May 4.
Director General Defence Estates (DGDE) had prepared a list of all the roads closed in the 62 Cantonments. As remarked by the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, "From among the 850, 119 were closed without following the laid down procedure." Out of the 119, only 80 were asked to be opened.
In May, a detailed review was undertaken by the Ministry on various issues, in particular, those relating to the closure of roads in the Cantonments. Based on the review undertaken by Sitharaman, as a first step, it was decided to open all the closed roads. It was decided that a simplified detailed SOP has to be issued to jointly address the needs of the local public and the military establishment.
This decision of opening all the closed roads was opposed by many retired officers and family members of the servicemen. Post that, Defence Minister Sitharaman held several rounds of discussions on the issue of the closure of roads in Cantonments.
Post detailed review taken by the Minister with officers of the Ministry, Army Headquarters including Chief of the Army Staff and the Defence Estates Organisation, it has been decided that, "In case of roads, which the Local Military Authorities consider necessary for reasons to be provided, the process of closure of roads may be initiated. Due process as laid down under Cantonment Act, 2006 and the orders issued by the Ministry dated May 28, 2018 will be followed."
"The Ministry in coordination with Army Headquarters has devised a standardised protocol for the closure of roads in Cantonments, in conformity with the provisions of the Cantonments Act, 2006. Emergent security needs of the Army have been duly taken cognisance of while devising the standard protocol to enable closure of roads in such circumstances."