Hyderabad to be common capital for 10 years
After being a part of Andhra Pradesh for more than half-a century and decades of struggle, Telangana is going to get separate statehood. Following meetings held on Tuesday, the United Progressive Alliance coordination committee and the Congress Working Committee (CWC) have given their approval for carving out a new state from Andhra Pradesh. The modalities of separation will be decided in the coming days; Hyderabad will remain the common capital of Telangana and Seemandhra.
Announcing the decision after the CWC meeting, Congress general secretary Digvijaya singh said 10 districts of the region would be part of the new state. He said a group of Union ministers could look at whether more districts can be added to the proposed state. He asserted that the decision was not taken under any political pressure. "The decision has been taken after the widest possible consultations and after taking into account the chequered history of the demand for a a separate state of Telangana since 1956,” he said.
CWC also urged the Centre to look into the matters relating to water sharing and power generation and distribution between Telangana, Rayalaseema and Andhra, and law and order in the state.
The announcement was welcomed by K Chandrasekhara Rao, leader of Telangana Rashtriya Samiti, who held a press conference in Hyderabad. He, however, added that the state will be a reality only after the Bill for a new state gets passed by Parliament. "The UPA has to bring in clarity in its decision to keep Hyderabad a common capital," he added.
Andhra Pradesh was formed on November 1, 1956 on linguistic basis by merging Andhra and Telugu-speaking areas of the Nizam's dominions. But struggle for getting a separate statehood started in 1969 within 13 years of the merger. The Congress government led by Indira Gandhi at the Centre crushed the movement with strong police action. In 2000, the movement once again intensified.
The Central government had made an announcement of its decision to initiate process for a new Telanagana state 14 years ago. On December 9, 2009, in a midnight press conference, then home minister P Chidambaram, had dramatically announced that the Centre was moving forward with the process of forming Telangana state.
But within two weeks, the Centre took a U-turn and the decision to form a new state was put on hold because of violent protests in coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema regions against the decision. Subsequently, in February 2010, the Central government appointed a five-member committee headed by former Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna to hold discussions with all sections of people, political parties and other organisations. The committee submitted its report on December 30, just one day before its term expired.
The 635-page report had suggested six possible solutions. The first, and the one preferred by the committee, was status quo—keep the state of Andhra Pradesh as it is and set up regional development councils for the development of Telangana region. The council would prepare development plans and look after water, irrigation, health, education and local administration. Another suggestion was to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh into Telanagana and the state of Andhra with provisions for making Hyderabad a Union Territory.
In that case Telangana and Andhra would have to develop their own capitals. Another option suggested was that Hyderabad remains the common capital till Andhra develops its own capital. The committee had also suggested Telangana with Hyderabad as its capital. But this was a least-preferred option by the committee, since most of the investments in Hyderabad are made by the industrialists and business class from the Andhra side.
Pending statehood demands
What made it difficult for the Centre to take a stand, apart from the vertical division among the people of Andhra Pradesh, is the fact that if Telangana is carved out of Andhra Pradesh, many other regions would make similar demands. At present there are at least seven such demands pending with the Centre: Vidarbha to be carved out from Maharshtra, Gorkhaland from West Bengal, Bundelkhand and Harit Pradesh from Uttar Pradesh.
Now that a separate Telangana state has been decided on, the other regions will definitely intensify their demands. In fact, movement for a separate Telangana state, after being crushed in 1969, once again started in 2000 when the new states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal (now Uttarkhand) were formed.
The UPA coordination committee and the CWC decided that Hyderabad will be common capital to both Andhra and Telangana for 10 years. According to Ch. Hanumantha Rao, eminent economist and former Planning Commission member, Hyderabad along with Telangana contributes 70-72 per cent of the total revenue of the state. The way the revenue is going to be shared is very important for the development of Telanagana as well as Seemandhra, he said.The CWC's decion okaying the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh was greeted with cheers and bursting of crackers in Telangana districts while protests were staged in many parts of Andhra and Rayalaseema.
| History of Telangana struggle
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