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Debate : Point & Counterpoint

Debate : Point & Counterpoint
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With Seemandhra people up in arms against the Congress decision to bifurcate the State, various issues that have never been discussed openly are...

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

A strategic blunder without forethought
The agitations which are going on in Seemandhra region are almost peaceful and non-violent. But if the Centre behaves like a deaf post, then the stir will take a different turn and it can be worse
Never open the door to lesser evil, for other and greater ones slink in after it", remarked Baltasar Gracian. The Congress, having declared its decision on AP bifurcation is not only in such a situation but also in Catch-22 situation as it proceeds with the division of the state.
Though the Srikrishna Committee has enlisted the post-bifurcation problems, the Congress Working Committee has blatantly turned a deaf ear to them and dragged the state into a cat fight. The July 30th decision of CWC has fuelled the fire of agitations across the Seemandhra region and it appears there is no end to them. Nor is there a way to douse them with measures acceptable to both the regions.
Employees, students, pensioners and farmers have their own apprehensions about their future. So, it is necessary to address those problems and find an amicable solution through negotiations but not through glossing over their problems. Napolean Bonaparte was right when he advocated, "Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in." However, the Congress party has acted differently. Though there was truth in that the Telangana movement has reached its peak and they are demanding the union government for demerger of the state, there is not enough clarity.
The Telangana protagonists are in favour of a state with 10 districts including Hyderabad. The Srikrishna Committee has also enlisted many options if the division is inevitable in which creation of Telangana state is one. But mere following that option without doing proper home work relating to capital city, employees, sharing river waters, income sources, etc. will create more problems to the Congress High Command than it is trying to solve.
It is also noticeable that though the highest body of the party has taken the decision to carve out Telangana state the next step to prepare a cabinet note needed a specific reason which has to be included in its preamble. It is a pity that the union government, after a month and a half, is still pondering over the right reason. Is it not a hasty decision?
The agitations which are going on in Seemandhra region are almost peaceful and non-violent. But if the Centre behaves like a deaf post, then the stir will take a different turn and it can be worse. It seems that the Congress party has been intentionally maintaining silence by wrongly thinking that these agitations may stop on a certain day because they don’t have the support of any strong leadership. But the momentum of movement is fully co-ordinated by the JACs at all levels and they have succeeded enough to get the support of all sections of people. The Congress party and its leaders are facing the heat of the movement for a united state and have not realized the power of people’s power.
It is not the time for individual ego; it is the time for negotiations with all stake holders. The leaders, both at the centre and state should address all the concerns of Seemandhra people .The first and foremost duty is to normalize the paralyzed administration and to restart all the essential services immediately. Public transport, schools, PDS shops, colleges, hostels, etc should start running so that people can breathe easy.
It is not good for any region to witness a prolonged unrest with rallies, strikes and bandhs. In the process the state will lose immensely and lag behind on all fronts. So, let the union government initiate a dialogue for ending this stalemate and play an important role for the smooth and safe bifurcation.
Further. It should impress upon the Telangana leaders to loosen their grip to some extent on Hyderabad for some time and on sharing of income resources for a stipulated period for the development of under-developed areas of the state. It is also necessary to establish a water regulatory board to avoid future inter –state water controversies. Otherwise, it is not possible to douse the flames of unification and bifurcation.
(The writer is School Assistant in Biology, Badvel, Kadapa district)
Look beyond Hyderabad for the growth Of Telangana
In the past 30 years, since we adopted the so-called ‘economic liberalisation’ policies, the focus of most of the states has been on developing the capital cities along with a few others and ignore the vast rural towns and villages
Hyderabad is undoubtedly the heart of Telangana, but over a period of time it has grown multifold and attracted loads of foreign investment. Today, it has become a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai, Banglore and Delhi. Since it is already developed, it will attract more funds and investment. Political leaders who have their huge properties in the city are resisting the bifurcation.
Andhra leaders would never have bothered to division of the state had it not been the issue of Hyderabad.
There are other issues such as sharing of river waters but that does not affect the politicians more than the status of Hyderabad where they have invested in everything right from real estate to business and entertainment industry. However, the grim reality is that Hyderabad cannot become joint capital as it is situated in the heart of Telangana and distance from any Andhra town to the city would be nearly 150km to say the least. In such a situation, the state cannot be run smoothly whose capital is surrounded and situated at the heart of another state.
Protests by Seemandhra leaders and people are unnecessary; they show one thing: Those enjoy fruits of power do not want to share it at all. The merger of Telangana with Andhra was never complete and the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” was neither respected nor implemented. The feeling was that the government continued to neglect the Telangana region. The fact is that Telangana has more resources than many other parts of Andhra Pradesh but it is also a reality that none of the Telangana cities is as developed as Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupathi, Guntur, Kurnool, etc.
In the past 30 years, since we adopted the so-called ‘economic liberalisation’ policies, the focus of most of the states has been on developing the capital cities along with a few others and ignore the vast rural towns and villages. While the cities are modernizing themselves with cosmopolitan culture, the villages are strengthening the caste identities. A majority of these areas remain undeveloped despite the fact that the leadership of the states is still controlled by the rural caste elite. Their continued interest has been to keep villages subjugated in their own contradictions while enjoying the ‘maharaja’ life in the capital cities. In Andhra, a few cities got developed but the maximum amount has flowed to Hyderabad.
We all feel proud of a ‘Jewel’ but that is feudal. During the Nizam period too, Hyderabad was the symbol of his ‘prosperity’ and hence his entire focus was on that resulting in a huge gap between towns and cities, rich and poor. Moreover, the condition of the most marginalized people like Dalits, Adivasis, and even Muslims is bad.
A similar situation is arising now. The political class has been focusing on capital cities and use different tactics to bring people into their ‘false’ nationalistic vision. Some time it is the ‘others’ who are responsible for your plight and when you become leader and questions are raised about the leadership qualities then some other issues will crop up. So, till now, the Andhra leadership is being blamed though there were many from Telangana who were ministers and they could not be absolved of their acts of omission and commission in various governments of which they were part.
The fight for Telangana cannot be confined to Hyderabad. It is very much part of the state and it has the required infrastructure. Now Telangana and Andhra need to focus on their multiple cities and rural populace. Let the capital cities remain the seat of Assemblies but let them not become hubs of everything. If everything has to happen from Hyderabad or any other capital city then 20 years later, people will have to blame themselves.
The focus should be on the heart of Telangana’s rural populations who are the real ‘warriors’ of this movement. As this movement for separate state has raised hopes, it is basically not for the people of Hyderabad but for the people of other areas in the regions who have been kept away by the power elite. The power needs to go to them, understand their issues and problems and implement the policies like comprehensive land reform, people’s access to water and forest resources.
(The writer is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com)
Injustice to Telangana
According to Professor Jayashankar, only 20% of the total Government employees, less than 10% of employees in the Secretariat, and less than 5% of department heads in the Andhra Pradesh government are from Telangana; those from other regions make up the bulk of employment. Naturally, KCR was firm that employees from Seemandhra should return to their respective regions. The government would safeguard the interests of its employees.
It is unfair to criticize KCR for what he has said. And there are many distorted statements being put out that he has held out veiled threats. He felt that it was his duty to protect the interests of the T region, who had sent him to the Parliament.
Hope all discrimination meted out to the Telangana brethren is annulled in the shortest possible time, and all the 4.5 crore people of that region should adopt highly innovative and elegant ways to see that the bifurcation is hastened, and they reap the benefits before the onset of the elections. The BJP may win the elections, and the TDP could extend outside support, as it a secular party; and if for some reason the Congress fails to bifurcate the State prior to the elections, the TDP would not allow the BJP to bifurcate the State, and the struggles in all three regions would be back to square one. Good or bad, bifurcation should not be put on the backburner, and the process should be fast tracked by the Congress/UPA.
- Gopal Tallamraju, East Point Colony, Vizag
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