History

Hyderabad and Secunderabad are one of the few twin cities of the world. Secunderabad is located on the northern side of the Hyderabad urban agglomeration. The cities have merged through an imaginary line drawn across the Tank Bund, which is still used to demarcate the cities. In 1798 through an alliance signed between Hyderabad’s Nizam Sikander Jah and the British East India Company, the area north of Hussain Sagar Lake was made into a cantonment named Secunderabad after Nizam Sikander Jah. Presently, Secunderabad Cantonment area falls under the jurisdiction of Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB), which is a local body falling under the administrative control of Ministry of Defence, Government of India. The SCB is responsible for carrying out the civic amenities to the residents of the Cantonment area. The area of Secunderabad Cantonment is about 40.17 sq. km and the civil population is 2,17,910 as per the 2011 census.

Historically, cantonments were places where the troops of the colonial government had to be exclusively quartered in an effort to keep the armed forces totally insulated. Cantonments meant quarters assigned for lodging troops, a permanent military station created by the British government in India for the location of military formation away from the civilian towns and insulated from the Indian nationalist influences. Housing was the core objective. Subsequently, housing itself attracted the civil population to reside in the cantonments and the economic spin-offs attracted other activities. The bazaar area was recognized and the anatomy of the cantonment got clearly defined with military, the bungalow and civil areas clearly defined. The cantonments as local self-government bodies are unique, as to meet the needs of ever aspiring civilian population and to ensure the security and health of the troops.

As demand grew for reforms by the cantonment civil population, the Cantonments Act, 1924 was enacted to introduce local self-government in the cantonments. The Act was the first model municipal Act for cantonments, but in its implementation, decentralization and democratic norms were largely compromised because of the status of the citizen who occupied the property only as a licensee of the Government.

The Cantonments Act, 1924 was repealed by Cantonments Act, 2006 with a view to impart greater democratization and improve the financial base of cantonments to make provision for developmental activities. Presently there are 62 Cantonments in the country distributed among six Army Commands. The Cantonments are categorized as Category I, Category II, Category III and Category IV on the basis of the population. Secunderabad Cantonment area falls under Category I.