Saturday, July 16, 2011

A concrete solution to the Telangana Problem!

The Three regions of Andhra Pradesh

Telangana problem builds very high temper and sensation again in the State. Most of the MPs and MLAs from the region resigned. Students and People resort to agitate by all means. But a solution to this burning issue does not seem nearer, if we go deep in the statement of our Union Health Minister Mr. Gulam Nabi Azad from Beijing recently. “Without a total consensus among the parties in the state assembly, the issue cannot move an inch. For the division of any state we need total consensus, like in the state assemblies of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Utter Pradesh for the creation of Jarkhand, Chatisghar and Utteranchal states respectively.” he said.

Mr. Azad further told that part of the difficulty in reaching a consensus was lack of a concrete solution from the B.N Srikrishna committee which submitted its report six months ago. “We were under the impression that the committee would give atleast one concrete solution. But the committee has given us six options, but not solutions. So we have to start again from zero.”

It is very clear that the center is by passing from the problem in an escape route rather than to solve it.

The six recommendations of Srikrishna committee are:-

1. Maintain status quo.

2. Bifurcation of the State into Seemandhra and Telangana; with Hyderabad as a Union Territory and the two states developing their own capitals in due course

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

4. Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad. Metropolis as a separate Union Territory

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

6. Keeping the State united by simultaneously providing certain definite Constitutional/Statutory measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region -creation of a statutorily empowered Telangana Regional Council

The commission itself has narrowed its options to three, and even the three too impotent to give a fruitful solution.

Before we analyze for any concrete solution, we must have a glimpse of our recent past history.

‘Language is closely related to culture and therefore to the customs of people. Besides, the massive spread of education and growth of mass literacy can only occur through the medium of the mother tongue’ was the main objective for the creation of linguistic states in 1956.

Andhra was created as a separate state in October 1953 and in November 1956 the Telugu-speaking Telengana area of Nizam’s Hyderabad state was merged with it to create Andhra Pradesh. The hope was that being part of a large unilingual state would cement the Telugu people culturally, politically and economically.

But to the total expectations of our Nation’s forefathers, the binding force the ‘Sundara Telugu’ fails here to unite the people of the three regions of the State even after 55 years, is a matter of concern because the States Reorganization Commission, had some reservations about the merger because of Telengana being relatively more underdeveloped, its level of development being nearly half that of the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh.

‘Telengana’s per capita income was Rs 188 compared to Rs 292 in the coastal districts, the number of hospital beds per lakh of population was 18.6 while it was 55.6 in the coastal districts. The literacy rate in Telengana was 17.3 per cent as against 30.8 in the rest of Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, Telengana had only 9 miles of roads per 100 square miles, the comparative figure being 37 miles for coastal Andhra. Unlike coastal Andhra, Telengana’s sources of irrigation were scanty, consisting mostly of rain-fed tanks and wells’ was the picture at the time of merger.

To sort out these differences some precautionary measures were assured at that time by the pro-merger leaders to the people of Telangana for its development. These precautionary measures were ignored from the day one itself and so the problem has landed in the present situation, is now the feeling of the Telangana people.

Hence the single linguistic cultural region of Andhra Predesh is now being raged by political conflicts and sub-regional movements based on disparity in development and presumed inequality in economic opportunities - a condition in the post independence era is again surfaced. This clearly proves that the SRC’s worry on the economic conditions of the region has not improved much. Thus the linguistic aspirations become fruitless as the hungry engulfs everything!

To evolve for a concrete solution, our approach to the problem should be in the right direction taking only the justice, and the facts in mind.

Telangana was a Princely state during the regime of British India and up to Sep. 13, 1948 after Independence. The status quo of the Telangana region was maintained as a separate state in the Indian union, until November 1956, at the time of its merger With Andhra. Before merger the states capital was Hyderabad.

At the time of creation of Jharkhand, Chatisghar and Utteranchal states, only the Backwardness of the regions were considered mainly and this scale is fully applicable now to Telangana.

The above new states regions were far away from the parent capitals. So they can have their own new capital city for each and there was no fight for the parent capital.

States like Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were formed without any assembly resolutions. Article 3 of the Constitution is enough for the union government to create a state.

The city of Chandigarh borders the States of Punjab and Haryana. Making the city a union territory is meaningful as the city is the capital for both states. But Hyderabad is situated in the middle of the Telangana region. Andhra Seema cannot claim it as it is a remote city for them.

For the development of the modern Hyderabad city, the contribution of the people of the Andhra Seema was immense. Their huge investment in Hyderabad worries the Andhra Seema people much. To safeguard their interest in this regard must be taken into account.

However in the way of a child’s life somebody may happen to take care of it. But the woman who give birth the child alone can claim its mother!

The sentiments and feelings of the people of Andhra Seema in regard to the city of Hyderabad should be respected and rewarded. But not by separating the child from the mother. And it is also not newer to us. During reorganization, Maharastra and Gujarat fought for the city of Mumbai, the then Bombay. Bombay became a union territory for many years! For the city of Madras now Chennai, Andhra and Tamil Nadu fought for each other. But the History corrected the things in the right way at the end.

Thus we have every reason to believe that the f Telangana people’s demand for a separate state is genuine. If the Federal Government whole heartedly wants to resolve the problem, it is just a click away from its remote! It can immediately announce the formation of Telangana state with in a time-frame of two or three years.

In the meantime the center can reward generously the new the state of Andhra Seema by allotting funds for the construction of a new ultra modern Capital city with all amenities preferably at Vijayawada. The Present Andhra Pradesh Government may extend all co-operations to flourish VijayaWada as a full fledged state capital to the entire satisfaction of the people of Andhra Seema. At the inaugural function of the New State Assembly at Vijayawada, Andhra Seema shall smilingly bid farewell to their linguistic blood brothers, the People of Telangana.

Rome was built not in a day! Now Rome is the capital city of Italy a country by name, and not to the Roman Empire which was meant to built. Like Romans we Indians are cherished with ancient culture and tolerance. Even we can think positively that the construction of a new capital will provide a number of employment opportunities, and industrial growth which will benefit the young generation of the state. Will the Central government put a step forward now to bell the cat? For the support of 10 no one likes to loss 30, may be arithmetically wise. But working to win all 40 is statesmanship! The time will tell us the answer.

But it is not only the dream of our forefathers who found the united Andhra Pradesh, with great expectations, it is also my own pray at this moment, our brothers the people of Andhra Pradesh should put their emotions aside and rationally review and decide on the future course of action and find ways to progress in unity.

(Seemandra is the name given by Srikrishna committee for the combined areas of Coastal Andhra and Rayala Seema. In Shakespeare’s words, what is in a name? Is not just the matter here. Presently we are calling the state as Andhra Pradesh. So leaving Telangana, why not we call it by name Andhra Seema?).