Air Commodore (rtd) Udoy Narayan Ganguly is a resident of Yapral and among the 15 lakh citizens who are affected by permanent roadblocks set up by the Army in the northern part of the Cantonment. The retired flying officer served in some of the most sensitive forward base support IAF units.
Air Commodore Ganguly said the closing of the roads citing security concerns is not warranted.“In today’s world of advanced technology, anything is beyond a human eye or physical presence. It is possible to spot any given location by using Google Maps, including an air base camp. If the Army is citing security breach, what threat is perceived by them, I ask. Is it physical or visual? The security challenge can be defined by the answers,” he told this newspaper.
“With regard to the latest orders issued by the ministry of defence to re-open all roads, it should be noted that the decision-making process has undergone scrutiny (a well laid down process), comprising of a team with a super specialist on Indian security and another intelligence-gathering body. In consultation with all professionals and experts on security, a decision has been taken to reverse the ‘arbitrary’ closure of roads by the Local Military Authority.”
During his 33 years of service with the IAF, the officer commanded two air bases, including a frontline strategic security challenge base in Kashmir.He said one cannot fight today’s security challenges with yesterday’s knowledge because the threat perception is changing every day. “Notwithstanding all the security in any military station, there have been attacks. How can one ensure security by closing roads,” he asked.Coming down heavily on the LMA blocking the arterial road passing through the golf course with a wall, he asks, “The phantom threat to strategic assets abutting A1 road is fallacious and misleading. Blocked roads in the cantonment are indeed public A1 roads as per the Cantonment Act 2006 and CLA rules and the LMA has subverted the law by blocking them arbitrarily.”
In response to the families of army men citing security concerns, he says, “These apprehensions are psychologically associated with any change. The senior officers must counsel them on the legal status of A1 roads in the Cantonment and make them feel secure with point defence (fencing of the quarters, guards at the entry/exit points) and motivate them to become inclusive.”