Telugu Seema-flanking North East or East Asia?
Telugu Seema-flanking North East or East Asia?, K S Chalam, new state. The geographical location of Telugu Seema looks like a huge lobster unlike that of Kerala, at present considered as the Gods’ own country.
It is very difficult to reconcile that we are divided now. But, after a moments’ reflection, we realise that nothing seems to have changed. We are the same people speaking the same language and maintaining our longstanding relations not only in Hyderabad but in different parts of the World. Yet, boundaries of the new state now changed to have an international border on the East and Telangana on the West. The residual districts of Andhra Pradesh consisting of three regions, Uttarandhra, Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema are popularly called as Seemandhra .
We had a longing for a united image for the state that our leaders became unsuccessful to uphold. We must appreciate the Elders House for granting North East status to 13 districts. It is not out of place to say here that the term Andhra Pradesh reminds us about the past. Therefore, we may consider naming the residual part as Telugu Seema to give language identity to the people. There were attempts in the past to name the state as Telugunadu. Now we have another Telugu state by name Telangana. We can say that the capability of Telugus to lead the South would improve with adept handling. Nevertheless, the identity of a region should depend ultimately on the people and their ingenuity in the development of the area as part of the nation/country. The people of coastal Andhra as the ‘Telugu Biddas’ are known throughout the World with their ICT skills and leadership abilities in different knowledge-based industries. Now, an opportunity is created to broaden the development with the support of the natural resources and rewards of the region as a separate state.
The geographical location of Telugu Seema looks like a huge lobster unlike that of Kerala, at present considered as the Gods’ own country. The length of coast of Andhra (9 districts) is 972 km nearly double the size of Kerala with 580 km. The comparison is imminent now in terms of the beauty and economic potential of the new state. Telugu people seem to have a historical advantage in the development of agriculture and industrial location of certain public sector units in the region. The entrepreneurial competence of the Telugus is known throughout the World as Infrastructure developers like GMR, GVK, Lanco and Nagarjuna and in Pharmaceuticals, Health etc sectors. They are currently confined to few and limited areas of operation would get plenty of opportunities to develop the region as one of the most advanced states in India competing with Gujarat and may surpass it in few decades. However, this needs to be systematically planned under a democratic environment, without which the people do not tolerate the kind of hegemony of few Business Houses deciding everything as in some industrial states today. Andhra Pradesh had seen several movements and the people are politically and socially advanced to nip any such bravura behaviour to dominate the situation by covetous others. The formation of the state itself was precarious under great emotional and economic constraints. Therefore, keeping the socio-economic and Intellectual background of the new state, we must encourage a model that is inclusive enough to meet all socio-economic and geographical considerations.
Telugu Seema now consists of 4.94 crore inhabitants in a geographical area of 142.5 thousand square kilometres is larger than Telangana both in extent and size of population. It is bigger than about 10 states like Kerala, Odissa, and Punjab. Though the combined state was moderately developed in different parameters of growth, the infrastructure of the coastal region was neglected. Except National Highways 5, 9 and 18 that cover some of the districts, the rural connectivity and the network of roads for economic opportunities are weak. Higher education and the quality institutes are located in Hyderabad and those who migrated to other states for higher studies seem to have moved from there to USA or settled elsewhere. This situation would appear to create some problems for the supply of human resources for the development projects in the state. The amendments to the Bill-2013 incorporating some 50 institutes in Hyderabad for combined admissions would be a short gap arrangement. We need huge investment to develop the infrastructure with financial packages from the Union government.
The industrial base of the region was created on the basis of the requirements of the public sector without augmenting the local resources, might raise immediate problems of scarcity of certain factors conducive for growth. The agriculturally advanced four coastal districts are well entrenched in farming operations and have not diversified due to several reasons, might display inertia in the beginning. The agricultural surplus of the region had gone out of the region for investment elsewhere as very little was reinvested. The haphazard and spurious methods of development that was initiated in the recent past in the coastal region alleged to have led to subsequent litigations. This might create now a diffident atmosphere for new entrepreneurs to come forward to invest. The kind of iniquitous growth that was unleashed in Hyderabad benefitting few should be kept in mind in devising strategies of ‘scientific development’. Otherwise, soon they might join the complex North East, being part of East India.
The 9 coastal districts and the hard working population of Rayalaseema would create magnificent conditions for the development. One important advantage of the new state is that it has a long coast close to South East and Far eastern countries like japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Thailand and others that have a different development experience. Singapore on the neighbourhood of East Coast has taken the advantage of providing supply chain strategies and transhipment port can be slowly attracted by East Coast with its state of the art facilities to be developed on the Coastal Corridor. We have direct flights to Singapore from Visakhapatnam to reach in just 3 hours. Thailand is near to our coast via Andamans. There are many Telugus from Prakasam in Sri Lanka. Anantpur and Chittoor close to Bangalore and Chennai. Thus East Coast corridor with its hinterland of Telangana, Chhattisgarh, MP and other land-locked states has huge potential for growth. But, it is to be innovatively planned keeping the emerging industrial needs of China and the neighbourhood.
If Mumbai and Gujarat coast are considered as nearby to the West, East Coast should be developed as a proximity to the East Asia. Chennai is in fact physically and culturally far off to Eastern countries compared to Telugu East Coast with greater cultural links with the South East, as Buddhism had gone to the East from this part with deep and historical roots and archaeological attractions. Let us hope and wish our Telugu Seema would soon bloom on the horizon of the East like a radiant sun.