Centre Must Act Firm to Create Telangana State

[Editorial in The New Indian Express]

Enough of playing around with the people of Andhra Pradesh. We say this because of the lingering doubts on whether the UPA government will bring closure to the issue of bifurcation of the state, especially in the wake of the president granting one more week to the state Assembly to convey its views on the draft Telangana bill. The extension was given to convey an impression that the Centre/president acted democratically though the action could be seen as reasonable by a section and unreasonable by another, considering the political spectrum and people in the state stand virtually divided.

If the interests of people on both sides of the divide are to be protected, lawmakers must utilise every minute of the extended deadline to return the bill. Precious time has been lost already as over half of the six weeks given to the Assembly was either wasted in adjournments or extended holidays availed for Christmas-New Year-Pongal. Lawmakers would do well to remember that people will not appreciate the fact that not even a third of them are in attendance in the House any given day when a historic bill with long-term implications for both Telangana and the residuary state is being discussed. It is also a sad commentary on the House that members are either indulging in mere rhetoric or mudslinging rather than clinically analysing provisions of the bill.

The state has lost nearly five years on account of either ineffective governance or agitations. The confusion spread by Delhi, starting with the 2009 announcement on creation of a Telangana state, only made matters worse. We, therefore, emphasise that the Centre should not dither anymore—time has come for it to move decisively towards formation of a Telangana state by bringing the bill before Parliament in the February session. And, major political parties like the BJP should be taken on board on important provisions to ensure smooth passage of the bill in both Houses. Once that happens, the focus will return to development and resolution of people’s issues, which is receiving least priority now.

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