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SOURCE: UNI

The long wish of the Secunderabad Cantonment residents has finally been fulfilled as the Union Government notified the merger of the civil areas under the Cantonment Board with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). The Ministry of Defense issued orders to this effect, an official release from the CMs office said here on Saturday night. Telangana Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy took a special initiative to solve the long-pending merger of civil areas of the Cantonment Board with the GHMC.

The CM took up the matter with the Defense Minister every time during his recent Delhi tour. The Chief Minister also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to solve the issue during the latter’s visit to Telangana on March 5. Following the CM’s regular appeal to the center, the central government decided to abolish all the cantonment boards, which have existed since British Colonial rule, and merge them into the municipalities.

State Chief Secretary Santhi Kumari had also written a letter to the Union Ministry of Defense requesting the release of guidelines. The chief secretary also made it clear that the state government is ready to speed up the merger process in a video conference held by the Secretary of the Union Defense Ministry on June 25. As per the decision taken in the meeting, the defense ministry wrote a letter on the modalities for the merger of civil areas in Cantonment areas with the municipalities.

According to the notification, the civil areas in the cantonment will be merged into the GHMC. All the facilities and infrastructure provided to the people in the civil areas will be transferred to GHMC without any cost.

All the assets and liabilities of the cantonment boards are also being transferred to the municipality. With this, the GHMC will extend the residential areas of the cantonment except for the military station. The GHMC has also been given powers to collect taxes in its new jurisdiction. However, the lands and properties owned by the central government will remain the same.

The Center made it clear that the civic bodies should give top priority to the maintenance of the security of the armed forces. In accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Center, the State Government and Cantonment officials have been asked to clear their doubts and take further action in tune with the guidelines stipulated by the Center.