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Telangana and Hyderabad ఫిబ్రవరి 13, 2011

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Andhra, compromise, conflict resolution, Culture, heritage, Hyderabad, Identity, livelihoods, Mulki, politics, regionalism, Settler, Telangana.
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Power Politics, February 2011

What about the Chandigarh model?
K Naresh Kumar

Two of the six options by the Srikrishna Committee (numbers 2 and 4) were set aside for bifurcating the state into two- Seemandhra and Telangana – with Hyderabad and enlarged Hyderabad metropolis respectively – as Union Territory (UT). Option two was considered ‘not practicable’ and no opinion was expressed on the fourth one.

Political kite-fliers however have not desisted from suggesting the second option, surprisingly within Congress party itself. Two city-based Congress MLAs, one of whom – Danam Nagender – is a state cabinet minister have quite openly declared that they would not mind carving out a separate Telangana if ‘Hyderabad was retained as a Union Territory’, much to the chagrin of the Telangana block within the ruling party.

On the issue of Hyderabad however, the MIM, which is against Telangana has categorically refused to allow it to be made a UT. All through the time when the agitation was panning out in 2009, politicians from other regions of the state had staked equal claim to Hyderabad though it was located in the Telangana region. Their contention was that over the past five decades and more, the ‘settlers’ ( as the locals called them) had worked to make the city touch great heights in the fields of business, industry and IT and most of the investments were made by them. Alternatively, a few of them were trying to be gracious as they said they could still separate like brothers and live like one only if Hyderabad was commonly shared.

The Chandigarh example, which obviously had come up as an option was shot down as location-wise the nearest town of the other two regions – Andhra and Rayalaseema – was a good 150+ kms away. On their part, the pro-Telanganaites even used this argument to further their theory that two small states – Punjab and Haryana – could survive very well even after separate identities and so Telangana could very well do so.

G Kishan Reddy, floor leader of the BJP in the state assembly, in a signed article published in ‘The Hindu’ of Feb 16, 2010 stated thus: Hyderabad is an integral part of Telangana and a Telangana State without Hyderabad as the capital is inconceivable. However, the militant rhetoric of some political parties has made people of other areas feel unwelcome, creating an air of mistrust among the Telugu-speaking people of various regions. This is not only constitutionally illegal but also extremely foolish as it affects the image of Brand Hyderabad.

Everybody who has come to Hyderabad in search of a better quality of life must be protected. Rhetorical slogans such as Telangana waalon jaago, Andhra waalon bhago gives the impression of an exclusionist movement that forces people of the non-Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh out of Hyderabad rather than a movement where the people of Telangana want greater autonomy for their region. Significantly, when Maharashtra and Gujarat were created from the then Bombay state on the recommendation of the States Reorganisation Commission, there was fear about Mumbai losing its importance as a financial nerve-centre as a lot of investment in Mumbai had been made by Gujarati business people. The creation of two separate States did not halt Mumbai’s rapid development. In fact, it additionally paved the way for the development of Ahmedabad and Surat as alternative financial centres. Hyderabad can emulate the same model. As in the past 400 years, the city can continue to welcome people with open arms rather than close its gates to fresh talent and creative ideas.

The people of the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions feel that the benefits reaped from Hyderabad must be accessible to all those who have been equal stakeholders in the city’s development. The solution to this is not alternative models such as, according Hyderabad the status of a Union Territory or making Hyderabad a joint capital for the States carved out of present-day Andhra Pradesh. These solutions are just not practical. A better approach would be to plan a special financial package for the development of a new State capital for the non-Telangana region. Pragmatism would dictate that the special package be funded through some form of cess on the city of Hyderabad for a limited period rather than running to large financial institutions for loans, as has been proposed by some political entities.

The Telangana agitation is the only such movement in India that involves a capital city located in the region that is fighting for separation from the main State. This clearly reflects on the lack of governance and civic administration in this area as the benefits of having a State capital in the hinterland have not trickled down to other areas in that region.

Smaller States still need a good and vibrant administration to be recipes for success. Chhattisgarh is a fine example of how an effective administration could turn around a State in all aspects of development. The development that has happened in the Chhattisgarh region from Independence till 2000 has in fact been less than the development that has taken place from the time a new State was created in 2000 till now’ he added categorically.

Excerpt from United Andhra Pradesh Or Telangana As India’s 29th State?

Source: http://www.powerpolitics.in/Issues/feb2011/feb2011-7.php

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