Outcry gets shriller as locals fear loss of lung space

Outcry gets shriller as locals fear loss of lung space
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Highlights

Clamour to stop the State government from constructing new Secretariat complex at Bison Polo Grounds is growing with each passing day and several citizens and NGOs are raising voices against the government’s move deprive Secunderabad of its lung space.

Secunderabad: Clamour to stop the State government from constructing new Secretariat complex at Bison Polo Grounds is growing with each passing day and several citizens and NGOs are raising voices against the government’s move deprive Secunderabad of its lung space.

In the last ten days, six citizens wrote to the Prime Minister and Defence authorities to retain open spaces in the Secunderabad Cantonment area. A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Hyderabad High Court, challenging the reported decision of the Centre to use Bison Polo Grounds for construction of the Secretariat building. The PIL was filed by former Director-General of Police M V Bhaskar Rao, former cricketer Vivek Jaisimha, chartered accountant T Bharadwaj and former squadron leader Anil Bhalla.

In the meanwhile, the State government released construction designs for the Secretariat. Ravi, a social activist says, “The government is also eyeing Gymkhana Grounds and is negotiating for taking over 22 acres of Gymkhana apart from the 33 acres of Bison Polo Grounds. These two grounds are like twins that are vital for the ecological balance in the cantonment.”

A few advocates and citizens in the cantonment are planning to file a case in the next few days. G Abel, an advocate says, “Of the 62 cantonments in the country, the Secunderabad and Aurangabad cantonments are different and the rules differ as these places were under the Nizam State.

Bison Polo and Gymkhana Grounds are reserve lands and constructing buildings would be a violation. According to the Defence Ministry website, Defence owns 17.54 lakh acres out of which 1.58 lakh acres is in notified cantonments and balance of 15.96 lakh acres outside the cantonments. In India, there are 62 cantonments.”

Environmentalist Capt J Rama Rao says, “In 2002, the then AP government had proposed to construct a cricket stadium at Gymkhana Grounds but was turned down by the Defence authorities as no permanent structure is allowed in defence areas. Also, a proposal from the Army to the PMO for building family accommodation in 1995 was overruled.”

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