Democracy, they say, is a great leveler. But for Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB), the military and civilian areas that come under its jurisdiction, are not remotely equal. Road maintenance appears to be carried out on the basis of whether the area is civilian or used by defence personnel. Residents complain that the authorities pay more attention to the roads used by defence personnel than by civilians.
While the roads in the heart of the army area, which are frequently used by defence vehicles, are well-maintained, they keep getting worse as one move on to the roads used by civilians.
This is evident in the recent maintenance work taken up on Wellington Road, Gough Road (the road leading to Military Hospital’s south gate) and All Saints Road where several potholes have been covered, bumps have been smoothened and solar-powered road blinkers have been installed. But roads in other areas that come under SCB jurisdiction like West Marredpally and Picket remain dotted with potholes.
Residents and frequent users of the route say that the difference in the condition of the road can be easily seen and felt while driving from Picket or Marredpally to AOC Centre as the road becomes much smoother and visibly better. Members of resident welfare associations in the area also lament the striking contrast in the condition of the roads. Dr Arun Jaiswal, vice-president, Jyothi Colony Family Welfare Association, said, “I stay near the Kirkee Gate of the AOC Centre and the road leading to Secunderabad Club which I use regularly to go to my clinic is in a very bad shape. The potholes cause traffic jams everyday and a distance of less than a kilometer takes around 15 to 20 minutes to cover. Roads in our colony too are frequently dug up but not covered up in time. But, on the other side of the Kirkee Gate, the road leading towards AOC Centre swimming pool, is as good as new because of the recent maintenance work carried out there.” “We are planning to take up this issue in our next association meeting and we will soon complain to authorities,” he said.
A quick drive on these roads makes the stark contrast clear. While the West Marredpally route has a pothole almost after every 10 to 15 feet, the crossroads near Military Hospital leading to Neredmet were recently adorned with new blinkers and dividers. The main road in front of Jubilee bus stand with all its bumps cannot measure up to the smooth new road in front of the defence personnel quarters near Kendriya Vidyalaya, Trimulgherry. SCB officials refused to comment on the issue even as residents continued to worry. T Raju, a shop owner at West Marredpally said, “Maintenance work is taken very seriously on the army area roads. In the past one year, most of the pits have been covered. But the road in front of our shop which was dug up a month ago is still lying uncovered. The potholes are either left unattended to or filled unevenly. The condition may turn even worse during monsoon,” he added.
-via The Times of India.