After weeks of deliberations with the army, the defence ministry has devised a standardised protocol for closure of any road in cantonments across the country, asserting that emergent security needs of the force have been taken into consideration.
In May, the defence ministry decided to allow civilian access to the roads in 62 cantonments but security concerns were raised on the move. A country-wide signature campaign against the government decision was launched by wives of army officers.
Subsequently, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held several rounds of discussions on the issue Chief of the Army Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, officials of the Defence Estates Organisation and officials of her ministry.
"The ministry in coordination with the army headquarters has devised a standardised protocol for closure of roads in Cantonments, in conformity with the provisions of the Cantonments Act, 2006," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry had decided to give civilian access to the Cantonment roads after Sitharaman held a meeting with a group of parliamentarians and elected vice presidents of the 62 Cantonment Boards.
The ministry said the process of closure of roads may be initiated in case of roads which the local military authorities consider necessary but they will have to cite the reasons.
"Due process as laid down under Cantonment Act, 2006 and the orders issued by the Ministry dated May 28, 2018 will be followed," it said.