GoM on Telangana to consider Srikrishna Committee's report

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New Delhi, Oct 11: The Group of Ministers (GoM), set up to look into the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, will focus its deliberations on the recommendations of Justice B N Srikrishna Committee that gave an extensive report on Telangana in 2010.

"Srikrishna Committee's report will be the basis of the whole exercise," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who heads the seven-member ministerial panel, told reporters here.

However, the option -- bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and Seemandhra with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra having a new capital -- given by the central government was not the most preferred one of the committee. "After taking into account all the pros and cons, the committee did not think it to be the most preferred, but the second best option.

Separation is recommended only in case it is unavoidable and if this decision can be reached amicably amongst all the three regions," the five-member Srikrishna Committee, headed by Justice (retd) B N Srikrishna, had said.

The committee said if this option is exercised, the apprehensions of the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema people and others who have settled in Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana with regard to their investments, properties, livelihood and employment, would need to be adequately addressed and confidence instilled that their safety and security would get highest priority from the new dispensation.

"Considering all aspects, the committee felt that while creation of a separate Telangana would satisfy a large majority of people from the region, it would also throw up several other serious problems... The implications for the other two regions also cannot be ignored," it had said.

The Srikrishna Committee said this option implies accepting the full demands of a large majority of Telangana people for a separate state that will assuage their emotional feelings and sentiments as well as the perceived sense of discrimination and neglect.

The committee's impression, gained during its extensive tours of Telangana region, indicated that a very large number of people from Telangana were highly supportive of the demand for a separate state.

The panel had said the implications of this option are that (i) if earlier agitations are anything to go by, this decision will give rise to serious and violent agitations in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, where the backlash will be immediate; the key issues being Hyderabad and sharing of water and irrigation resources.

The Srikrishna Committee also said -- (ii) There will be every likelihood of pressure being put by the general public on the leaders of the political parties of Seemandhra region (MLAs/MLCs/MPs) to resign and fight for united Andhra Pradesh.

(iii) The agitation for separation of Rayalaseema from coastal Andhra may also start taking shape sooner than expected.

(iv) Even though water and irrigation issues can be handled by creating autonomous/semi-autonomous structures, the apprehensions of the people of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema will continue to be voiced.

(v) the impact on internal security situation with the anticipated growth of Naxalism and religious fundamentalism.

Justice B N Srikrishna Committee gave an extensive report on Telangana in 2010.

The committee said the division of the state will also have serious implications outside Andhra Pradesh. It would not only give fillip to other similar demands but it will be for the first time, after the re-organisation of states, that a political demand for dividing a linguistically constituted state would have been conceded by the Union government with the creation of two Telugu-speaking states.

The issue requires a most calm and dispassionate consideration of the consequences. The matter should also be seen in the larger context of whether a region can be allowed to decide for itself what its political status should be, as that would only create a demand for a great number of small states resulting in problems of coordination and management.

The option of keeping the state united by simultaneously providing certain definite Constitutional/Statutory measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region – creation of a statutorily empowered Telangana Regional Council had been termed by the committee as the best way forward.

The other four options are (a) Maintain status quo, (b) Bifurcation of the state into Seemandhra and Telangana; with Hyderabad as a Union Territory and the two states developing their own capitals in due course, (c) bifurcation of state into Rayala-Telangana and coastal Andhra regions with Hyderabad being an integral part of Rayala-Telangana and (d) Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory.

This Union Territory will have geographical linkage and contiguity via Nalgonda district in the south-east to district Guntur in coastal Andhra and via Mahboobnagar district in the south to Kurnool district in Rayalaseema.

PTI

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