(Interview with former Union Home Secretary GK Pillai)
By: Manan Kumar
Q: Is carving out a new state of Telangana a right decision? Will it create more problems?
A: If people in Telangana do not want to be part of Andhra, they have full right to demand a new state. If after 60 years, Andhra hasn’t been able to give them confidence… I do not see any reason why they cannot be given a state. But the timing of the decision is bad. It should have come one or two years ago.
The Centre too should have pushed for the first best option given by the Justice Sri Krishna Commission — to give Telangana a regional council. The government should have tried it out for two-three years. If that did not work they should have then gone for the full statehood option.
Q: Which major problem do you foresee once Telangana is carved out?
A: Most of the problems like capital are highly exaggerated. I think the main problem would be water because water flows from Telangana to coastal regions, which has more fertile land. The real fear of Seemandhra region is what if Telangana constructs a dam. That is something that Telangana should not do but then there is inter-state water commission and recourse to law to take care of such issues.
Q: There is a strong view that creation of Telangana will help the Maoists?
A: On the contrary, I think a delay in creating Telangana will help the Maoists and allow them to exploit pro-Telangana sentiments.
Q: There are fears that Telangana will give rise to new statehood demands.
A: The way out is to set up the second states re-organisation commission. Its terms of reference should be criteria under which new states will be formed. Let it hear out everybody. Once it determines the criteria for setting up new states that are accepted by Parliament they can look into each demand and decide.