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Debate : Point & Counterpoint

Debate : Point & Counterpoint
Highlights

Telangana is at last officially on cards after a silent as well as non-violent prolonged battle waged by the region’s people since the formation...

With Seemandhra people up in arms against the Congress decision to bifurcate the State, various issues that have never been discussed openly are coming into sharp focus from the three regions. We have run a five-part series highlighting the Srikrishna Committee Report’s observations on key issues and asked our readers to respond. The views and counterviews will be published in these columns. They can be either directly related to the subjects mentioned in the Report or on carving out a separate state. They articles should be written in English, not exceeding 800 words, and to the point. Please mention the complete address with phone number.

Also attach a passport size photograph and mail to letters@thehansindia.in

The root cause of call for separate Telangana

Let us bury the past as a bad dream and live together since we are all the citizens of the same country. Let us bury the hatchet after the formation of the Telangana State

Telangana is at last officially on cards after a silent as well as non-violent prolonged battle waged by the region’s people since the formation of Andhra Pradesh. During the course of their over 50-year-long struggle, the Telangana people have suffered humiliation, loss of lives, properties and opportunities.

It is worth noting that they were only asking for what was already there in the name of Telangana, nothing more, nothing less. The demand for Telangana, unlike the demands for creation of new states elsewhere, was not a demand for a new state in true sense but demerger. No less a person than Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru himself had left the option to the people of Telangana to seek a divorce if the marriage was frustrated by the hegemonic and authoritarian attitudes of Andhra leaders.

The Andhra leadership is now trying to mess up the issue by stating that Hyderabad has been developed by the Andhra people over a period of time and hence, they have to have a say over it. This is not true because Hyderabad has always been treated as a part of Telangana, and the revenue pertaining to Telangana spent only on the development of the city. Much of Hyderabad development had taken place over five centuries for which the Telangana people had made many sacrifices in rural areas of the region by foregoing many facilities, comforts and opportunities.

Granting that some more development has been made after the formation of Andhra Pradesh, one would like to ask what happened to their investments in composite Madras State when it was bifurcated; what happened to their investments in Bellary and Berhampur when they were separated from Andhra and given to Karnataka and Odisha respectively. Why did they not raise those issues then?

One would like to ask them whether Gujaratis had made similar pleas when Bombay was conceded. Have the Andhras made more contribution to the development of Hyderabad than what they had made for Madras development? Or, have they made more contribution to Hyderabad development than what the Gujaratis had made to Bombay? Then why do they make all kinds of untenable, unreasonable and unfair demands when the Telangana State is about to be formed?

Most ridiculous and laughable demand of Andhra leaders is to create some legal and Constitutional safeguards to Andhras living in Hyderabad; and some need such assurances for the safety and security of their assets and properties. Can that be done? Has that been done earlier anywhere in India? Are we living in primitive times to ask for such provisions? Why did they not ask for the same safeguards in Madras, Bellary or Berhampur? After all, Andhras live there and own properties. How about those Andhras who are living in Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore and elsewhere? Do they mean that Telangana people are unfair and all others are fair? Do all others who have been living in Hyderabad for centuries feel the same way?

The fact is the Andhra leaders and the State have not done anything for emotional and psychological integration of Andhra and Telangana people. They therefore feel guilty that since they have not done anything in that direction, there can be a sort of discrimination after the formation. If they study the history of Telangana, the Andhras will know that the Telanagna people have always been liberal, generous and magnanimous towards one and all, and they have always been adjusting, accommodative and secular. But, if someone thinks that he is superior one way or the other, and tries to exploit or show off, he would certainly invite trouble as it has happened.

Let us bury the past as a bad dream and live together since we are all the citizens of the same country. Let us bury the hatchet after the formation of the Telangana State. Let us not forget that we have a more or less common language, if not more or less common culture, which should help us to come together emotionally.

Our Andhra brothers should understand that "aikyatha" should precede "samaikyatha". If there is no "aikyatha" between the people, how can there be "samaikyatha" which means two-way agreement and understanding? For "aikyatha" or "samaikyatha", the pre-condition is emotional and psychological integration which has not happened. This is the basic reason for the call for separation.

As far as other issues are concerned, such as sharing of river waters, division of assets and liabilities etc. there are already all India norms which are applicable and are already applied to other States which would automatically hold good for the Telangana and Andhra States when they are separately constituted.

To say as being said that Telangana State would lead to the demand for the formation of some other states in the country is to forget that in the case of Telangana what is being done is only a "restoration" but not "bifurcation" whereas in the case of other sates it would amount to bifurcation, separation.

Issues relating to employees, after the formation of the new state, can be dealt with the way they had been done elsewhere in similar situations. The problem of Naxalites can not only be minimised but can even be eliminated as the new state has enough resources to concentrate on backward areas, rural areas and tribal areas.

(The writer is Convenor, Telangana Cultural Forum, Hyderabad)

Srikrishna report must be basis for political decisions

Though the committee suggested six options, the sixth option favouring keeping the state united was its choice. Many believe that the report should have been the basis for any decision on the Telangana issue.

The Justice Srikrishna Committee was constituted by the Central Government to study the Telangana issue in detail in February 2010. The committee which consisted of renowned and neutral experts submitted its 500-page report in December 2010 after touring all the 23 districts of AP, interacting with politicians and all sections of people and doing extensive research on the subject. If one scans the entire report, it leaves no doubt about the side it took – “a united Andhra Pradesh”. Following are some of the “decisive excerpts” for important issues in the Telangana tangle with reference page and line numbers.

Why Andhra Pradesh must be kept united:

(page 441;24)The Committee did not find any real evidence of any major neglect (of Telangana) by the state government in matters of overall economic development. (p 117;2). When a study of rate of change, growth rate and shares in the state economy is evaluated, nothing unusual emerges. Telangana, excluding Hyderabad, currently has a share of 36% in state population and 41% in state land mass. (p456;21).The united Andhra option is being suggested for continuing the development momentum of the three regions and keeping in mind the national perspective….this option would be in the best interest of all and would provide satisfaction to the maximum number of people in the state.

If Telangana state is created:

(p 454;1) Separation is recommended only in case it is unavoidable and if this decision can be reached amicably amongst all the three regions. (p 451;24) This decision will give rise to serious and violent agitations in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions..; the key issues being Hyderabad and sharing of water and irrigation resources. (p 451;34) The impact on internal security situation with the anticipated growth of Naxalism and religious fundamentalism. (p 413;19).There are strong indications that if Telangana does become a separate state, a movement for separation is likely to follow in Rayalaseema, which remains the most backward region in the state. (p 452;7) 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.

Hyderabad – size and significance:

(p301;10)The population of Hyderabad is four times larger than the second largest city in Andhra Pradesh, Visakhapatnam, and exceeds the sum of the next nine largest cities in the state. (p306;1) (p302;6) The HMDA region covers a total area of 7073 km2 with a population of over 7 million. The area under HMDA is comparable to the size of smaller states. HMDA is almost twice the size of Goa.

(p306;15) Hyderabad now hosts many significant institutions. Of these, 28 establishments are defence or other strategically important establishments with national security significance. In addition, there are about 40 institutions owned by Government of India with national research, development and educational interest. (p315;15) Within Andhra Pradesh, the information Technology and Information Technology enabled services (IT & ITES) industry is almost solely in Hyderabad.

Hyderabad as Capital of A.P.:

(p338;25) Migrants from the three regions, especially from coastal Andhra, have contributed substantially to the economic growth of the city…(p338;29) Circulatory or temporary migrants to the city from other regions of the state, especially from among the poorer sections of the population also find work …for part of the year. (p339;1) Access to educational institutions in Hyderabad is also equally important to youth from all three regions of the state. Small tradespersons and semi-skilled workers from all over the state also find a niche in the city. (p339;4) People from the three regions have developed strong material and emotional attachment to the metropolis and fear loss of access in case of changes in the state’s contours.

Language and Dialect:

(p401;4) There are films that make fun of Telangana slang, but there are also films that make fun of the slang of Godavari and Uttarandhra. Such practices should be controlled, but cannot be the basis of demanding a separate state.

Water and Irrigation:

(p181;23) Telangana, being at a higher level, has natural disadvantage in gravity canal irrigation from large projects. (p207;11) (Polavaram Project:) Telangana, while losing some land, would also benefit from the project. A demand for stopping the project at this stage appears misconceived.

Electricity:

(p241;3) There has not been any discrimination in Telangana, Rayalaseema or coastal Andhra regions by the Andhra Pradesh Government or any organization involved in generation, transmission or distribution of electricity.

Though the committee suggested six options, the sixth option favouring keeping the state united was its choice. Many believe that the report should have been the basis for any decision on the Telangana issue. Unfortunately, decisions are being made to promote Rahul Gandhi’s future at the expense of the future of crores of Seemandhra people.

(The writer is a doctor, Vani Nursing Home, Narasapur, West Godavari Dt)

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