Pune: The decision by the Army authorities to close down a number of civilian roads passing through cantonment lands in Pune will now be reassessed by the Cantonment Board (PCB) chief executive officers (CEO) after the new directives issued in this regard by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). On April 4, a special meeting was held between the vice president (VP) and Members of Parliament from the 62 cantonments on discussing various issues of cantonments.
The Army authorities had shut the public roads passing through their areas, a few years ago in the name of heightened security measures.
After the German Bakery bomb blast in 2010, suddenly the Alexander Road, Queens Garden Road, Elliot Lines Road in Ghorpadi and Right Flank Road in Wanowrie Bazaar which are civilian roads were closed down by the local military authority (LMA) under the reason of security measures.
In 2015, Tushar Mantri, the then VP of Cantonment handed over a memorandum to Manohar Parrikar, the then defence minister, during his visit to Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) and demanded the immediate opening of both the roads in presence of MP Anil Shirole. But the Alexander and Queens Garden roads have not been opened yet.
Priyanka Shrigiri, VP of PCB, told Sakal Times that during the meeting held with the MoD recently, the issue regarding road closure in the 62 Cantonment limits was discussed. “The MoD has today sent a letter to the CEOs mentioning that MoD is taking note of this issue and soon the roads will be opened for civilians’ use and they will speak to LMA regarding this issue,” she said.
While speaking with Kiran Mantri, ward member of PCB, she said, “There are a lot of inconveniences faced by local residents due to the closure of Elliot Lines and Right Flank Road. Even during the bicentennial celebration of the Cantonment, we spoke with Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre about this issue and requested him to look into the matter and open it as soon as possible, but there is no positive news over it till now.”
Mantri further said, “When we asked the LMA about the road closure reason, they said they have some of their units located on the road which are to be kept secret. But when visited the road, there is a sports ground, defence bungalows and residents of military engineering services. We even suggested them to build a security wall, but we received a negative answer from them. We are hoping that the MoD will look into this matter on a serious note and open the road for public convenience.”