By:J R Janumpalli
Telangana State has arrived. It is coming in to existence from 2nd June 2014, after a poignant struggle for decades. But, the tradeoff between the hegemony of seemandhra and the political freedom of Telangana brokered by Congress and BJP parties was equivocal in the end. It has ended up in a curiously lopsided situation. It has left Telangana in a feeling of ‘pyrrhic achievement’ and seemandhra in a bonanza of packages and special status, as if it was the underdog all along. Telangana government is kept on probation in Hyderabad city for 10 long years. It is a shackled state for Telangana and lavish sops to Seemandhra.
The Congress Party had mismanaged the whole issue in the last four years and dragged it in to a tight corner in the end. The seemandhra politicians and media went in to an overdrive of anti-Telangana propaganada.The BJP waiting in the wings was baiting Congress with a promise of full-fledged State. In the end BJP also influenced by seemandhra elements and seizing on the inevitability of its support has employed political coercion to broker a qualified Telangana State. This has resulted in the bounty of packages, statuses and safeguards to seemandhra, which are palpable political bribes. The irony is that the oppressor who had indulged in the political despotism got all the concessions as if it was the aggrieved. The oppressed was given a bare state of their own with clipped wings.This is another episode of political gamesmanship, which Congress party was playing on Telangana, treating it as a political ‘orphan’ since it was liberated from Nizam in 1948.
The A.P. Reorganization Bill is a departure from umpteen other such Bills enacted earlier, with several incongruities incorporated in it as political sops to seemandhra, impacting Telangana State adversely. Let us examine some of them.
1. The common capital: The status of Hyderabad as common capital and the ‘governorgiri’ over it is a clear infringement on the autonomy of Telangana government. Its constitutional validity is questionable. The real purpose of this provision is to help the seemandhra politico-corporate-czars. It is to continue their stranglehold on their lucre in Hyderabad city to manipulate and siphon it off under the protection of Central government via the Governor. Because of this, they will not be very keen to complete the construction of their own capital in seemandhra.They might like to use up all the 10 years’ time. They may try to manipulate the things to continue their presence in Hyderabad city in one political form or other even after having their own capital. It is believed that a couple of lakhs of acres of prime land in and around Hyderabad is in the hands of seemandhra carpetbaggers — ala Satyam Ramalinga Raju style. Telangana people feel that, if such unlawful gain made by seemandhras in and around Hyderabad city is not accounted for what is the use of getting a separate state after fighting such a tragic war.
2. Interstate water Boards: The interstate water boards proposed in the Bill are different from other such boards in the country. The other boards only regulate the water distribution, release of water and other related matters. But these water boards in the Bill are typically designed to safeguard the excessive use of water by Seemandhras. They are empowered to examine the new projects for their feasibility and accord permission before forwarding them to Central Water Commission. Since seemandhra are already using excessive water in both the river basins of Godavari and Krishna, the andhra counterpart in the Boards will be reluctant to accede to the upper riparian projects in Telangana. It makes the new projects in Telangana very difficult to come into execution.
Seemandhras can create endless hassles for taking up the irrigation projects of Telangana kept in pending deliberately in the united state for decades. The current Polavaram, Dummugudem and the Rayalaseema Projects are all heavily loaded against the interests of Telangana. Seemandhras will use their evident political clout with the center to complete them and harass initiation of new Telangana projects, using the interstate water boards. Polavaram Project which is included in the Reorganization Bill itself against all norms and Congress Party’s unscrupulous politics in case of Bhadrachalam division is a clear example of this conspiracy. Telangana people want water boards like the interstate boards working elsewhere in the Country. Not these boards which will make Telangana projects to be at the mercy of Central and Seemandhra governments.
3. The Public debt on projects: In the Bill the public debt is proposed to be divided on population basis. It should be divided on the basis of where the money is spent. This will be a huge disadvantage to Telangana, as more debt is spent on Projects beneficial to seemandhra.This has to be examined in the light of similar problem in the earlier division of states and the numerous precedents.
4. Reservations In education & employment: it is an open secret that seemandhras every year usurp a large no.of seats in educational institutions and jobs legitimately belonging to Telangana students/youth circumventing the rules in the united state. There is no such scope for Telangana youth in seemandhra region. As per the Bill seemandhras continue their quotas in education & employment, in Hyderabad for next 10 years. This has to be analyzed institution wise in all the institutions listed in the Bill vis -a- vis the no.of seats available in education institutions in seemandhra area and an equitable distribution of seats is to be ensured. There should be separate entrance tests for Telangana and Seemandhra. As for the employment their quota has to be stopped forthwith as there usurpation in the matter had exceeded all the limits.
5. Allocation of employees & payment of their pension: This is another area where the allocation of employees and their pension payment is going to be against the interest of Telangana. It will impact heavily the financial commitment and the opportunities for employment in Telangana State. It is time to work out modalities to identify the jobs belonging to Telanganites and the usurpers there on. Allot them based on nativity and not based on their option and divide the employees between the two states. If the illegitimate employees are allotted to Telangana and their pensions are also to be paid by Telangana, it will be like adding insult to the injury. The legitimacy of job has to be decided based on the rules on the date of appointment. If a seemandhra employee is appointed in a Telangana job he should be regarded as seemandhra based on his nativity and should be allotted to Seemandhra and his pension also has to be accounted for from seemandhra. Here it is needed to examine the details of all the employees and the irregularities identified. And rectify them to create much wanted employment to Telangana and avoid the draconian pension burden on Telangana.
6. Special packages for Rayalaseema and North coastal Andhra: All Telangana districts except Hyderabad district, Chittor, Cuddapah, Anantapur and Vizianagaram in seemandhra are the 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh that are identified by the Centre, for inclusion in the backward regions grant fund (BRGF). But central government announced as part of the bifurcation of state a special package for all 4 Rayalaseema districts and 3 North coastal districts, but, none in Telangana. If there is need to provide special package it should be given to all the backward districts on both sides of the divide. It is a superfluous award and is a clear case of political favoritism. The backwardness of these districts has nothing to do with the Telangana State and announcing this package in the context of division of state does not make any sense. There is need to address the problems of backward areas everywhere in the country as a national policy not as part of states reorganization. Though Telangana people do not begrudge the special package for seemandhra districts, considering it as a quid pro quo for Telangana state neglecting all the Telangana districts identified as backward makes it a glaring injustice. It is going to create a very uneven playing field between the two states, because of economic concessions and tax benefits to these districts, affecting the economy of Telangana state.
7. Special financial status: Special financial status is given to economically unviable small states like NE region with certain specified criteria. But here it is being given for seemandhra, bigger than Telangana and supposed to be very resource rich region. The idea that seemandhra is more deserved to have special status than Telangana is preposterous. If it is for Hyderabad revenue, the premise is already proved not correct. There are precedents like Madras and Bombay in earlier divisions. If special status is needed it should be given to Telangana which is smaller in size and was economically exploited by seemandhra for 58 years. It is a cockneyed concession and is given succumbing to the blackmail of BJP in the last minute. It is a brazen exhibition of political horse-trading. Bihar has already started its protest. There will be more. There is need to demand and get the special status for Telangana state also.
8. Common Institutions: There is the issue of Common High Court, Public Service commission etc. Smaller states then Telangana have separate institutions. We must take all the measures to get the state level institutions separated statewise as soon as possible to avoid seemandhra pernicious interference.
There is need to have discussions with subject matter specialists on all these matters and come up with clear cut solutions to act firmly to rectify them. There is need to fight on all fronts to remove or reduce these restrictions at the earliest. For that there is need to retain our Telangana regional character in the governance of Telangana State at least for the coming 10 years. The national parties will not help in this matter. They will be manipulated by seemandhras again as they are doing now. Therefore, TRS and TJAC on their own or in alliance with national parties have to play an important political role till Telangana state gets rid of these anamolies and ground a comprehensive state reconstruction plan, bridging the gaps created by seemandhra administration all these years.