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A post-dated cheque?

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Ever since the separate statehood for Telangana was announced, entrepreneurs have been expressing concern, of course privately. In fact, entrepreneurs...

Ever since the separate statehood for Telangana was announced, entrepreneurs have been expressing concern, of course privately. In fact, entrepreneurs of both Seemandhra and Telangana are worried for their own reasons. At a meeting organized by the Government, to dispel anxiety over the proposed bifurcation, Geetha Reddy assured AP Inc that the governments (in the post-separation era) will continue to offer the same investor-oriented administration, if not a better one.

All incentives, benefits and facilities offered now as government orders or MoUs will remain valid regardless of where investment is located. Though, the statement sounds reassuring, one would naturally get supplementary questions such as who has empowered her to make such a statement, whether her statement is binding on governments in post-separation states. However, industry captains say Ms Reddy’s assurance is satisfactory; but concerns still remain.

Earlier, the industry was worried about division; now it finds some ambiguity about Hyderabad. After all, the MoUs and agreements signed by the Naidu government were reviewed by the YSR government, and YSR government’s decisions were questioned by the Kiran government. Unfortunately, in some of these cases the government even invoked sovereign rights in the name of protecting Government lands. Thus, there is no guarantee that the new governments will not resort to such action post-separation.

One thing is, however, clear. The fears of entrepreneurs are more open these days than during the earlier Telangana agitation. For instance, they raised several questions at the Minister’s meeting on Monday, such as sharing of resources like power, water and the dynamics of costing. For example, the hydro-power generation in Telangana would be low-cost as the generating units are near pitheads; thus there will be low transport cost compared to that in the coastal region. Of course, industrialists from Andhra, Telangana and Rayalaseema said they welcomed any assurance from the government, especially as for the first time the government had met with the industry on the issue.

They also pointed out concerns of safety and security of investment and physical security for their workmen. They suggested that more projects be declared as ‘national projects’, like that of Polavarum irrigation project on the Godavari. However, the Minister was more guarded in her reply, saying that industry was free to continue to operate out of Hyderabad irrespective of regions (obviously she had in mind coastal Andhra industry). She assured them the growth in and around Hyderabad (the major contentious issue) would continue and local leaders would work with industry leaders.

She also assured them that the new government (after separation) would ensure that the industry from Hyderabad (Telangana) would have a port facility or an exclusive terminal to support exports. She hoped that the experts committee, proposed by the Centre, would address all these issues and provide clarity. Whatever may be the assurances given, the final adjudicator would be the Committee to be set up by the Union government.

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