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New govt raises hopes for ending post-split spats with Telangana

New govt raises hopes for ending post-split spats with Telangana
Highlights

  • Last five years have been marred by disputes and confrontation between the two states over division of assets
  • A White Paper released by AP in Dec 2018 says there is a dispute over division of assets worth Rs 1.97 lakh cr
  • The TS govt has not honoured so far the order given by Supreme Court in 2015 in favour of AP over division of assets of AP State Council of Higher Education listed in the Schedule X of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014

Amaravati: The new government in the state has raised hopes of an amicable settlement of all contentious issues between the state and the neighbouring Telangana, which celebrated its sixth formation day on Sunday.

In the last five years, there was more hostility than cordiality between the TRS government in Telangana, carved out of Andhra Pradesh, and the TDP dispensation in AP essentially due to political reasons.

Consequently, none of the issues — sharing of river waters and division of assets and liabilities among others — could be settled between the two Telugu-speaking states. Last year, the TDP had even gone on a collision course with the Central government.

The Governor, common to both the states, arranged a couple of meetings with the chief ministers and subsequently a three-member group of ministers was formed on each side to resolve the issues but no headway was made.

In the four years that it remained part of the NDA government at the Centre, the TDP failed to achieve much according to the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.

But now, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government headed by Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has begun with an advantage of having a non-confrontationist, if not friendly, relationship with both the TRS government and the Centre, springing hope of ending the impasse.

With Jagan at the helm, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao too sounded positive over settlement of outstanding issues with AP, particularly over sharing of river waters.

Rao, who attended the swearing in of Jagan as AP chief minister on Friday, however, he did not publicly commit anything about division of assets and liabilities between the two states.

"It will take some time but we are hopeful of a positive solution. We don't have a confrontationist stance and things will sure move forward," YSRCP MP and party general secretary V Vijayasai Reddy told PTI. Once the new Chief Minister settles down, he would open dialogue with the Telangana government, he added.

Sources said Jagan Mohan Reddy might hold a formal meeting with his Telangana counterpart later this month or early next month to set the process in motion.

Former chief secretary I Y R Krishna Rao, who negotiated on behalf of AP with the Telangana government many times during his two-year term, said political willingness was required to resolve the disputes between the states.

"It takes time after a state bifurcation for things to settle. But political willingness is important. Now, there could be a better climate between the two states and a solution to the long-pending issues is possible," Krishna Rao said.

As per a White Paper released by the AP government in December 2018, there is a dispute over division of assets worth Rs 1.97 lakh crore, related to government companies and corporations and state institutions, listed under Schedules IX and X of AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.

The Supreme Court, in 2015, passed an order in favour of Andhra Pradesh over division of assets related to AP State Council of Higher Education, listed in the Schedule X. Till date, the Telangana government did not honour it even as the AP government filed a fresh petition over it in the High Court.

The dispute over division of properties of AP Bhavan in New Delhi also was not settled. AP is also aggrieved over the non-settlement of a debt liability of Rs 33,478 crore which should have been in Telangana's account that was passed on to the state post bifurcation.

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