No Compromise on Hyderabad : KCR డిసెంబర్ 21, 2009Posted by Telangana Utsav in Andhra, compromise, Congress, Culture, Economy, GHMC, Godavari, Hyderabad, Identity, KCR, KTR, livelihoods, Mahabubnagar, MIM, Mulki, Muslim, Osmania, politics, population, Rayalaseema, Settler, Sonia, TDP, Telangana, TRS, Vishakapatnam.
No compromise on the status of Hyderabad
G S Vasu
New Indian Express: 22 Dec 2009 12:34:46 AM IST
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhara Rao firmly believes that creation of a Telangana State is only a matter of time. He rules out any compromise on the status of Hyderabad, asserting that it has to be the capital of Telangana, but at the same time, reassures that people from the other regions would be welcome here even after separation. Excerpts from an interview:
Q: Do you think that the Centre will keep its commitment on creation of a Telangana State?
A: I have no doubt whatsoever and I am willing to wait to enable the Centre take forward the process. I am sure the Home Ministry has already initiated the process. Those, who are against it, are now saying that the Assembly should necessarily pass a resolution. This is not correct. According to Article 3 of the Indian Constitution, the President is only required to refer the matter to the Assembly for “expression of its views.” The view of the Assembly is not binding and this was clearly laid down by the Supreme Court on more than one occasion including at the time of the formation of Bombay (Maharashtra) State. What everyone should understand is that the decision was announced on behalf of the Government of India and by the Union Home Minister whose ministry has to deal with issues relating to separation of states. As far as geographical territory is concerned, Telangana as a state was administered either by the Government of India or a local government for eight years before it was merged with the Andhra State to create Andhra Pradesh. Therefore, the Telangana region that existed as on October 31, 1956, (before the merger) can be separated again now. There are established procedures to settle other issues like bifurcation of assets, sharing of resources, etc., and they can be followed.
Q What is your response to the agitation in coastal and Rayalaseema regions that the state should remain united?
A: There is no basis for their argument and they have no clarity on what they are seeking. The so-called “Samaikhya Andhra” stir (united Andhra) has no samaikhyata (unity) at all. Chiranjeevi has his own agenda. Chandrababu Naidu of TDP has his own. They know that separation is a reality and are only preparing for future political activity in the coastal and Rayalaseema regions. In fact, the agitation is being run by a handful of vested interests (read businessmen-politicians) who have made huge investments in real estate in Hyderabad and are, therefore, keen on status quo. I am getting hundreds of messages from ordinary people in coastal and Rayalaseema regions that they would be happy if the state is created because that would spur growth in their regions. I am sure the Union Government will sooner than later put an end to this artificial agitation in the other two regions.
Q: The bone of contention, if the state has to be split, appears to be Hyderabad. Are you open for any options?
A: There are no options. Hyderabad has always been a part of Telangana and will remain so. The proposal in certain quarters that it could be made a common capital is meaningless and impractical. Any capital is formed from the point of view of administrative convenience. From any part of Andhra, one has to travel 200 km through Telangana to reach Hyderabad. When the state is split, why would the people of coastal region prefer to do this? In fact, they would like their capital to be closer to them and develop. People are going to beat coastal leaders if they propose a common capital. Yes, for some time, may be a year or two, the coastal government can run its affairs from Hyderabad till infrastructure is created in their capital.
Q: What about the suggestion that Hyderabad can be made a Union Territory?
A: This is foolish. Was Madras declared a Union Territory when Andhra split and was it done in the case of Bombay? Or more recently, why was Bhopal not declared UT when Chhattisgarh was created? This apart, UTs have been a failure. The Indian government has already started rolling them back, whether it be in Goa or Delhi. It is, therefore, absurd to make the suggestion in the case of Hyderabad.
Q: But there seems to be a genuine concern among students and coastal industrialists that they would be unwanted in Hyderabad once the state is split?
A: This is a mischievous propaganda. If Indian students can go to the US and elsewhere to study, why can’t they come to Hyderabad? Likewise, more sops will be offered to industrialists and the film industry to set up new units and expand further. Industrialists from coastal Andhra like from anywhere else, will be welcomed with a red carpet. They will get more than what they are being offered now. But, why are we asking for a separate State? It is because development can never substitute independence, self-rule and self-respect. We have no hatred towards the people of Andhra. What is the difference between a rickshaw-wallah in Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad? That’s why I am saying people at large in the coastal region are not opposed to separation and they are sending messages to Congress president Sonia Gandhi not to be carried away by the current agitation for a unified State. The other point one has to appreciate is that except during my fast when there was minor violence, the nine-year struggle for statehood has been totally peaceful. Even now, despite severe provocation from coastal leaders, the people of Telangana have not resorted to any form of retaliation This, despite the fact that no Telangana person has any assets in the coastal region while businessmen from there have innumerable assets and properties in Hyderabad and elsewhere in Telangana. Andhras living in and around Hyderabad should understand this and not fall prey to false propaganda.
Q: How about the argument of coastal leaders that they have invested a lot of money in Hyderabad and now, you are asking them to just pack up?
A: This is again a false propaganda, aimed at misleading everyone. They have only invested in land and made money out of it. Here, I should bring to light a historical fact. In the early days of Independence, Telangana, which existed as a separate state for eight years, was the richest in the entire country with an annual surplus budget of Rs 63 crore. Salaries of employees and judges in Telangana were higher than their counterparts in Andhra State. As a matter of act, they were poor, we were rich. But, once the state was formed, they came here for a living, aggrandized the properties of Telangana people and multiplied them. Over the years, the situation has so deteriorated that people, who live in two-thirds of the slums in Hyderabad, are from Telangana. Today, Muslims of Hyderabad sell blood to celebrate Eid. That is their trauma. Laying of four-lane roads and building international airports cannot be called development. Real development is one which enables the majority to live with dignity and self-respect. In terms of per capita income, Hyderabad has slipped and today, Visakhapatnam has the highest per capita income.
Q: Why do you say Telangana cannot develop in a united State?
A: Because, it is proven over the past 50 years. At the time of unification, the Godavari anicut, which is just stonewalled, had an ayacut of only three lakh acres. Likewise, the Krishna delta ayacut was 2.5 lakh acres. Once the state was unified, the surplus funds of Telangana were used to develop these two deltas so much so that Godavari ayacut has now gone up beyond 10 lakh and the Krishna ayacut to around 14 lakh acres. On the contrary, almost all projects meant to provide abundant water to farmers in Telangana have been abandoned and the ayacut in the region, over the years, has gone down by 10 lakh acres from the earlier 20 lakh. Why should lakhs of people from Mahboobnagar migrate during summer in search of employment? Who will answer for the fate of more than 30,000 workers from a single district in Telangana — Karimnagar — who are still languishing in jails in the Gulf having gone there in search of livelihood? Such examples are countless and all of them led to the trauma of the people of Telangana. That the region is neglected has been accepted by almost everyone. There is no need to establish it again and again.
Q: The oft-made criticism against protagonists of Telangana is that they are merely demanding separation but do not have a clear social and economic agenda for the new State if and when it is created?
A: This is also wrong. Telangana has an excellent tropical climate. We have different varieties of soils, huge mineral resources, forest wealth, an average rainfall of around 1,000 mm and hard working people. We have engineers, IT professionals, intellectuals and highly talented people in many other fields. We have excellence but never got an opportunity. All of them, including NRIs, are anxious to give their best to develop the region. We already have plans to develop a model city using clean and green technologies. Satellite townships will be promoted around the capital. All pending irrigation projects would be given priority, particularly small ones which can be completed quickly. The Godavari valley in Telangana, which has coal, water and other minerals, can be developed as a major industrial hub. We will prove that we need not be lectured on how to develop and that we are capable of doing it ourselves.