Defence Ministry Comes Up With A ‘Standard Protocol’ For Closing Down Roads In Cantonments

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New Delhi: The defence ministry on Friday said that factoring in the “emergent security needs” of the army, it had come up with a “standard protocol” for closing down roads in cantonments under the provisions of the Cantonment Act, 2006.

The protocol was devised in consultation with the army headquarters. The local military authorities can initiate the process of closing roads by providing reasons and following the method laid down under the Act and the ministry’s orders dated May 28, said a ministry release, reiterating the government’s position on the matter.

The protocol has been issued after several rounds of discussions and detailed review of the closure of roads by defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman.

The minister met several MPs and elected vice-presidents of 62 cantonment boards before the decision to open these roads to civilians was announced on May 20. This led to concerns being flagged by soldiers, their families and veterans that opening these roads to civilians would compromise security.

The May 28 order suggests the defence ministry will have the final word on the closure of roads in cantonments. The instructions lay down that proposed orders for road closure will have to be forwarded to the ministry for legal vetting.

The vetting will be done after draft orders have been published in at least three local newspapers and the cantonment board’s website, and the objections and suggestions from the local public have been considered.

“After legal vetting in ministry, a final order for the closure of road will be issued by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the command... and published again in at least three local newspapers and on the website of the ministry and concerned cantonment board,” said the two-page May letter.

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