Chaos and pandemonium disrupts discussion
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, which seeks to create a new state of Telangana by bifurcating the state, was tabled in the state Legislative Assembly as well as the Legislative Council on December 16 amid high drama and pandemonium.
President Pranab Mukherjee sent the draft Bill to the state capital Hyderabad on December 11, asking the state legislature to give its views on the Bill by January 23, 2014.
The Bill, prepared under Article 3 of the Constitution which gives powers to Parliament for changing boundaries of any existing state, seeks to create Telangana with 10 districts of the state. Hyderabad will remain the common capital for 10 years.
The Bill was tabled by speaker Nadendla Manohar amid utter chaos, even as chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy stayed away from the Assembly session on account of ill health. N Chandrababu Naidu, leader of the opposition, was also absent.
Both the houses were divided along regional lines. Legislators from Seemandhra region were determined to stall the introduction of the Bill and tore and burnt copies of the Bill, while those from Telangana welcomed the 65-page document and demanded immediate debate on it.
The houses were adjourned following clashes between legislators from the two regions. There was, however, no indication on when the discussion will be taken up next. The Assembly is scheduled to meet till December 18, with an agenda fixed by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the state Assembly, but the agenda does not include a debate on the Bill. There is no clarity whether the BAC would meet again to reset the agenda.
The Bill makes population ratio the basis for dividing assets and liabilities, including public debt, between Telangana and the remaining state of Andhra Pradesh. According to the 2011 census, the state has a population of 84.1 million. Telangana with 10 districts accounts for 41.68 per cent of the population, while Seemandhra (the remaining portion of Andhra Pradesh) with 13 districts comprises 58.31 per cent. The Bill, however, provides for continuity as for generation and supply of power as well as allocation of river water after the bifurcation.
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