Union Cabinet clears formation of Telangana

Hyderabad will go to Telengana after 10 years; GOM constituted to discuss threadbare the modalities of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh

By Anupam Chakravartty, M Suchitra
Published: Thursday 03 October 2013

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the creation of a new Telangana state by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabad will remain the joint capital for Telangana and Seemandhra for 10 years, informed Sushil Kumar Shinde, Union home minister, after the Cabinet meeting held in the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence at 7, Race Course Road in New Delhi.  However, the whole process is likely to take at least six months as Parliament has to pass State Re-Organisation Bill by a simple majority.

Following the Cabinet’s approval, Shinde said that the Union and state government will work on a series of steps leading to the formation of the 29th state of India. “The Cabinet has also decided to form a group of ministers (GoM) to go threadbare into the modalities of the bifurcation and the issues arising out of the bifurcation of the state,” said Shinde.

GoM will comprise Union ministers for home, finance, human resource development, health, irrigation, power, environment & forests and railways along with the deputy chairperson of Planning Commission. It will look into the economic issues on the creation of country's 29th state.

The new state will comprise 10 districts of the present Telangana region. The Centre will give special financial package to Seemandhra (13 districts of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema region) to develop its own Capital, said Shinde. The ministry of finance will appoint an expert committee to recommend measures for smooth transition in terms of financial management and viability of the new states.

A dedicated unit will be set up in the Planning Commission to deal exclusively with the re-organised state under the direct charge of the deputy chairperson, Planning Commission. The unit will ensure that multi-faceted development of the region takes place, especially with respect to core infrastructure with adequate financial support from the Centre.

The approval comes two months after the Congress Working Committee passed a resolution recommending the Centre to form a separate state. The resolution was passed on July 30.

The home ministry prepared the draft note for the Cabinet on Wednesday late night.  The note got the mandatory go-ahead from the law ministry before it was sent for the approval of the Cabinet. The Centre will send a resolution to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly for adoption. Shinde informed that another note would be prepared by the Union home ministry for the Cabinet on the Re-Organisation Bill on the basis of the recommendations and suggestions of GoM. The home ministry would request the Union Cabinet to approve the Bill and recommend to the President of India to refer the Bill to the state legislatures.

Ministers resign, people protest

Meanwhile, two Union ministers from Andhra Pradesh, human resources development minister Pallam Raju and textiles minister K S Rao resigned immediately following the decision by Cabinet. Later, minister of tourism (independent charge) Chiranjeevi also offered to resign. According to the sources, Union minister for earth sciences, S Jaipal Reddy,  is trying to persuade the ministers to withdraw their resignation letters.

While the Cabinet was discussing the note, strong protests were staged by the supporters of united Andhra Pradesh in front of the prime minister’s residence. Delhi Police detained several protesters and removed them from the spot. However, later when the decision was announced some of the Telengana supporters were seen celebrating close to the 7, Race Course Road, bursting crackers.

In Andhra Pradesh, while Telangana districts rejoiced over the Cabinet decision, protests were staged in Seemandhra region. Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader K Chandrasekhara Rao welcomed the Centre's decision. "We, the people of Telangana thank the Central government," he said. "But we will be on alert and watching carefully all the developments till Parliament passes Telangana Bill," he added.

“The decision is totally undemocratic,” said Rajagopal Lagadapati, Congress MP from Vijayawada constituency. The different regions in the state were yet to reach a consensus on the bifurcation, he said. It has become extremely difficult for the people's representatives from Seemandhra region to go to their constituencies in the wake of strong protests since the CWC's announcement, he pointed out.

Since the announcement of the resolution of the CWC on July 30, the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions have been witnessing strong protests over the proposed bifurcation. The Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGO) are on a strike since August 12.

In many places in Seemandhra, a 72-hour bandh has been declared opposing the decision of the Cabinet.

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Justice Srikrishna Committee for consultations on the situation in Andhra Pradesh (Justice Srikrishna Committee report on Telangana)

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