Centre may grant UT status to Hyderabad
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is considering a proposal to grant Union territory (UT) status to Hyderabad and make it the joint capital of Andhra Pradesh and the proposed Telangana state for 10 years.
“The proposal is on the table but no final decision has been taken. There is a valid argument for making Hyderabad a Union Territory,” Congress sources said.
The idea is gaining acceptance in the backdrop of the continued mass agitation in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions, jointly referred as Seemandhra, against the bifurcation of the state.
Hyderabad remains the main sticking point with people from Seemandhra unwilling to give up their claim on the bustling state capital.
Granting of UT status will be seen as a move to mollify the anti-bifurcation agitators and to strike a middle path. Opponents of the state’s division are willing to accept Hyderabad as a Union Territory and a common capital so that business and employment interests of the Seemandhra settlers in the city are protected. The future status of Hyderabad, an IT hub of 80 lakh population, has been the major bone of contention between the protagonists of Telangana and the integrationists.
Though Hyderabad is part of the Telangana region, it has, over decades, attracted people from all over India, particularly from Seemandhra. About 40 per cent of the city’s population are migrants from Seemandhra.While pro-Telangana parties have insisted that nothing short of a separate state with Hyderabad as the capital will satisfy them, the integrationists argue that the people of the other two regions have equal stakes in the city.
In fact, the main focus of the ongoing agitation rocking Seemandhra is on Hyderabad. There are apprehensions among Seemandhra people that their interests in the city could be targeted post bifurcation. Many in Seemandhra think that if Hyderabad is made a Union territory and the joint capital of the two states, their interests will be protected.
A high-power AICC panel, headed by Defence Minister A K Antony, is examining various proposals received on the bifurcation issue.“The Antony Committee will incorporate the Union Territory proposal in its report and a final decision will be taken based on the report,” a senior leader said.
The present exercise follows a resolution by the Congress Working Committee on July 30 to create Telangana state and make Hyderabad the common capital for a period of ten years.