M A I N   N E W S

Srikrishna panel for united AP
Telangana Regional Council to address core concerns
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, January 6
The much-awaited Justice BN Srikrishna Committee report has strongly advocated maintaining united Andhra Pradesh along with creation of a statutory Telangana Regional Council to address the core socio-economic concerns of the backward region.

“This is the most workable option in the given circumstances and in the best interest of the social and economic welfare of people of all the three regions in the state,” the committee said in its 500-page report,which was made public today.

The five-member panel was set up in February last year to examine the competing demands for carving out a separate Telangana state and maintaining the status quo.

After an elaborate exercise involving interactions with various groups, field visits and examining over 2.50 lakh petitions, the committee presented a set of six options and discussed their pros and cons in great detail.

The stress on maintaining unity formed a common thread that ran through the report. “Unity is in the best interest of all three regions as internal partitions would not be conducive to providing sustainable solutions to the issues at hand,” the committee said.

After elaborately discussing the merits and demerits of each of the option (see box), the committee said maintaining united AP while simultaneously providing certain definite constitutional measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region was the best way forward.

This could be done by establishing a statutory and empowered Telangana Regional Council with adequate transfer of funds, functions and functionaries. The Committee recommended that the council should have powers to deal with subjects like planning, economic development, irrigation, education, education, local administration and public health.

On bifurcation, which has been the single point agenda of Telangana protagonists, the committee said it was the “second best option” but could be recommended “only in case it is unavoidable and if this decision can be reached amicably among all three regions.”

However, the committee warned that division of the state would have repercussions in other regions. “If earlier agitations are anything to go by, this decision will give rise to serious and violent agitations in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions where backlash will be immediate, the key issues being Hyderabad and sharing of water and irrigation resources,” the report said.

It virtually ruled out implementation of the first three options as impractical and fraught with serious repercussions in one or the other region.

Elaborating further on consequences of splitting the state, the committee said: “The division will also have serious implications outside AP. It will give fillip to other similar demands. 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 smaller states resulting in problems of coordination and management.”

Acknowledging that there would be difficulties even in implementing the best workable option suggested by it, the panel said: “Keeping the national perspective in mind, we found that this option stands out as the best way forward. We are convinced that the development aspect is of utmost importance for the welfare of all the three regions and could best be addressed through a model that includes deeper and more extensive economic and political decentralisation.”

The committee hoped that the model suggested here would be useful in addressing regional aspirations elsewhere in the country.

After analyzing a plethora of issues including regional disparities, irrigation, power, education and health, the committee concluded that there has been a popular demand for decades for separate Telangana state on grounds that great injustice had been meted out to the region by successive governments.

“The continuing demand for separate state has some merit and is not entirely unjustified,” it said. While creation of Telangana state would satisfy a large majority of people from the region, it would also throw up several other serious problems, implications for the other two regions and the anticipated growth of Naxalism and religious fundamentalism, the report said. 


Srikrishna’s six-pack
The first choice

Keeping Andhra Pradesh united by simultaneously providing certain definite constitutional/statutory measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region


l Maintaining status quo

l Bifurcation of the state into Seemandhra and Telangana; with Hyderabad as a Union Territory. The two states will develop their own capitals in due course of time

l Bifurcation into Rayala-Telangana and coastal Andhra regions with Hyderabad being an integral part of Rayala-Telangana

l Bifurcation into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory. This Union Territory will have geographical linkage and contiguity via Nalgonda district in the south-east to district Guntur in coastal Andhra and via Mahboobnagar district in the south to Kurnool district in Rayalaseema

l Bifurcation into Telangana and Seemandhra as per existing boundaries with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra to have a new capital




Cong in a fix on Telangana
Anita Katyal
Our Political Correspondent

Members of the Telangana Minority Students Organisation raise slogans demanding a separate Telangana state in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Members of the Telangana Minority Students Organisation raise slogans demanding a separate Telangana state in Hyderabad on Thursday. — PTI 

New Delhi, January 6
Faced with a dilemma on the festering demand for a separate state of Telangana, the beleaguered Congress-led UPA government appears to have adopted a “wait and watch” policy on the recommendations of the Srikrishna Committee report.

The tone was set by Home Minister P Chidambaram this morning when he appealed to the political parties concerned not to take any hasty decision before reading the report while promising to convene another meeting with them to discuss the matter. Taking a cue from him, Congress leaders and other UPA ministers echoed the same sentiment, saying there could be no instant answers to such a complex issue.

Law Minister Veerappa Moily, who is also Congress in charge of Andhra Pradesh and party spokesperson Abhisek Singhvi said the government needed time to analyse the report before arriving at any conclusion.

“The government will take a holistic view of the situation and arrive at a decision which is in the best interest of the people of Andhra Pradesh,” Moily told The Tribune after the Centre released the Srikrishna report.

Having sought more time on the report on the pretext of analysing its proposals, the Congress leadership has also taken preemptive steps to see that party MPs from Telangana do not resort to any extreme measures like mass resignations.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who met them last night, is learnt to have assured them that that not only would they be consulted but their views would also be given due consideration before the government firmed up its decision on the issue. While being given full freedom to express their views on the issue publicly, they have also been asked to leave the final decision to the Centre and the party leadership.

“Since the party is seized of the matter and has promised to consult us before taking a final decision, the question of our resignation does not arise at this moment,” remarked Madhu Yakshi Goud, an MP from Telangana.

Although it has staved off an immediate crisis in the party, Congress leaders privately admit that it is caught in a bind on the Telangana issue which has already stoked violent protests in the state. If the Centre concedes to the demand, it will open a Pandora’s box as it will then be inundated with similar demands for separate state for Vidarbha in Maharashta, Gorkhaland in West Bengal and Harit Pradesh in Uttar Pradesh.

While other political parties in the state like the TRS, the TDP and the BJP are pressing ahead with their demand for a separate state, the Congress itself is hopelessly divided on the issue. 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |