Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Telangana trouble

Today Hyderabad again came to a grinding halt because of the call for bandh by the students of Joint action committee (JAC) for separate statehood for Telangana. Most of us, who have followed the news even remotely have our own opinions about the news. And most of the time the opinion for most of the people who do not belong to this region is - Why do they want a separate state suddenly? Even I had this opinion, but well there is no smoke without fire. So I decide to research the topic a bit. Living in the city and interacting with the rank and file in the company also gave me a lot of views. I would first present certain facts:

What is Telangana?
Telangana is a region comprising 10 of Andhra Pradesh’s 23 districts. Originally, it was a part of the erstwhile Nizam’s princely state of Hyderabad. The region accounts for 119 seats of 294 in the assembly. In 1948, India put an end to the rule of the Nizams and a Hyderabad state was formed. In 1956, the Telangana part of Hyderabad was merged with then Andhra state (carved out of Madras Presidency in October, 1953). The remaining parts of the Nizam’s empire merged with Karnataka and Maharashtra. Andhra Pradesh became the first linguistically carved state in the country after Gandhian revolutionary Potti Sreeramulu, on a hunger strike over the issue, died on December 16, 1952.

Reasons for creation of Telangana
1.Telangana was not always a part of Hyderabad. Indian army entered the erstwhile Nizam's territory in 1948 and the region was a part of the Indian Union. It even had it first elections in 1953 before formation of Andhra in 1956.

2.Telangana was made a part of Andhra saying Telugu unites both regions. But people of this region were educated in Urdu under Nizam while people of Andhra were educated in English and Telugu under Britishers, this gave them preference in jobs. This led to heavy influx of people from Andhra into Telangana thereby giving less opportunities to people of the region ( a plank being used by regionalists even today in other states).

3.To prevent large scale protests in Telangana many "gentleman promises" were made to people of Telangana. Incidentally under Nizam there was such a system called "mulki" under which jobs in certain regions were reserved for people of that region.Unfortunately all of these gentleman agreements were flouted and no reservation was given to people of Telangana.

4. GO 36 of 1969 that promised to position Telangana people in 25,000 that were illegally occupied by Andhra people remains unfulfilled even today. During 1973 and 1985 nearly 60,000 illegal positions were awarded to Andhra people in Telangana region. To rectify this, a new GO 610 was introduced in 1985 with a promise to enforce it within a year, but continues to be unimplemented in spite of repeated demands.

7. Nagarjuna sagar dam lies in Telangana region. While initially it was envisioned to have 2 lines one to dry and arid telangana and other to fertile Andhra, only one was constructed towards Andhra. Due to the construction of the dam several hectares of Lime stone mines vanished as part of the dam back waters. Everyone know that lime stone is used for producing cement. Coal mines and Power plant of Srilengi region lie in Telangana but backward parts of the same region Telangana get no power.

8. Of 10 Government medical colleges in AP. 1 Lies in Telangana, other 7 lie in Andhra - Rayalseema region.

9.Congress government had in its 2004 manifesto promised people of Telangana about a separate state. The promise remains unfulfilled even though the central government is in power for second time.

10. 45% of the state income comes from Telangana region. When it comes to utilization of funds, the share of Telangana is only 28%.

11. Two major rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra enter the state of AP in the district of Mahaboobnagar(the biggest district in Telangana) but the district always remains the worst draught hit areas along with Anantapur because there is no project and process with which the water can be utilized. The plans for utilization has been pending for decades.

12. Potti Sriramulu didnot fight for Telangana to be included in Andhra. He fasted In madras so that Madras becomes a part of new state of Andhra. His agitation of the differences in opportunities for telugu speaking people and Tamil in Madras.

Reasons against the creation of Telangana:

1. Most of the Indian states were formed on linguistic bases. telangana and Andhra would be two states with same language.

2. Hyderabad , which would mostly become the capital of Telangana was made by not just people from Telangana. It has investments from Andhra and other regions. People worry that these projects might be stopped as a sign of revenge.

3. Creation of smaller states, doesnot mean problems of people of Telangana will be solved. Try solving water problem between 2 states. Ask TN and Karnatka, they have been trying for decades.

4. Creation of two states would provide the Naxals of the region a safe place to play hide and seek with 2 forces.

5. If 2009 Lok Sabha elections are any indicator, there is not much demand for Telangana. TRS won only 1 seat in Telangana region on the promise for a new state.

6. In 1500's the whole Andhra region was under 1 ruler [Link].

Considering the above arguments. The points are definitely in favour of new state of Telangana. Even the 3 new states which were created namely Uttranchal, Jharkhand and chattisgargh had better growth rates than the states from which they were carved out of. Smaller states can be governed better. But what is not right the ways people have adopted to demand the new state. Calling for a bandh at the drop of a hat. Vandalizing public property. Making life of an ordinary citizen difficult. This would only lead alienation of more people for the cause than winning them sympathy.
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