Hyderabad: There is one common feeling wherever you go in the Secunderabad Cantonment. The feeling is one of dejection and disappointment over the lack of basic amenities, the frustration of having to bear the brunt of mounting piles of garbage, denial of the right to use public roads and on top of all these, utter […]
Hyderabad: There is one common feeling wherever you go in the Secunderabad Cantonment. The feeling is one of dejection and disappointment over the lack of basic amenities, the frustration of having to bear the brunt of mounting piles of garbage, denial of the right to use public roads and on top of all these, utter callousness if one happens to visit the Cantonment Board office with any sort of grievance.
The situation, which residents say they have been tolerating for several years in the hope that things might improve someday, has now slowly started making people of the Cantonment area ask why they are being treated like second-class citizens.
A look at any of the Twitter handles from the region will show how often they keep pointing out the lack of basic facilities ranging from street lights to proper roads, and that one issue that has been raised several times with the Central government authorities but for which none of the Centre’s representatives here have done something – that of illegal closure of roads by the Local Military Authority.
And now, a few initiatives by the State government, which are transforming the lives of several poor citizens in the Cantonment area, have strengthened the call for a merger of the Secunderabad Cantonment with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
Despite the State government not being the civic administrative agency to execute developmental works or boost infrastructure in Cantonment Board-ruled areas, the Telangana government is reaching out to the citizens in the Cantonment in multiple ways.
One of the most crucial steps, for the region that has for decades been beleaguered by drinking water shortage, was the extension of the State’s Free Drinking Water Scheme. The Secunderabad Cantonment thus became the first Cantonment in the country to receive 20,000 litres of free drinking water per month for every household. The estimated revenue loss on account of this for the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board is Rs 1.4 crore per month.
Ignoring the losses and not stopping with just water, the State government has reached out to economically weaker sections as well, giving them brand new two-bedroom houses under the State government’s flagship Dignity Housing Scheme.
As part of this, 224 housing units in the Katta Maisamma Silver Compound were constructed on a land parcel measuring 2.15 acres and the 2BHK houses have already been handed over to the beneficiaries.
Another 300 houses are under construction at the Narayana Jhopdi Sangam in Rasoolpura, with the slum dwellers now looking forward to better living conditions and better quality of life, a far cry from the days when the Cantonment authorities gave a cold shoulder to their grievances. With urban flooding issues plaguing several areas in the Cantonment as well, the State government, along with its projects in the rest of the city, has also started revamping the stormwater drain network in the SCB jurisdiction.
Secunderabad Cantonment MLA G Sayanna said the reason for the State government reaching out to residents of the Cantonment was Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s insistence that though the State government was not the administrative agency for the development of the SCB, the government would have to stand by the people, especially for the poor and serve them.
However, even this approach is facing hurdles, with the State government’s plans for more 2BHK colonies getting delayed because the required land has not yet been allocated by the Centre. “I hope someday even the union government will build houses for the poor in my constituency. But if the current situation is any indication, the union government allocating land to build houses is a distant dream. They haven’t even allocated 100 square yards of land though the State government has made clear its commitment towards building houses for the poor,” Sayanna said.