Union Cabinet approves Telangana state creation

Union Cabinet approves Telangana state creation

The Centre on Thursday set in motion the process of carving out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, ignoring vociferous protests against the bifurcation, two months after the Congress gave its green signal to the move.

Hyderabad will be the joint capital for Telangana, the 29th state when it is formed, and Seemandhra for the ten years. Seemandhra  will develop its capital later.

The decision—staunchly opposed by even Congress leaders from Seemandhra, including Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy—has already evoked diametrically opposite reactions with people in Telangana cheering and those in Seemandhra seething with anger.

Before the commencement of the Cabinet meeting, 26 youths broke barricades near Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence on Race Course Road here to press for a decision against Telangana. All of them, who “assembled peacefully” demanding a “united” Andhra Pradesh, were detained, said the police.

A group of ministers (GoM), likely to be headed by Defence Minister A K Antony, will be formed to decide a special financial disbursement from the Centre for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh for building its capital and to cater to the special needs of the backward regions. The GoM will also formulate mechanism to ensure legal and administrative infrastructure for the two states to function from Hyderabad for 10 years.

The safety and security of the residents of all three regions—Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana—including guarantees of their fundamental rights will be ensured, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters after the late evening meeting.

Sources said the GoM would be asked to submit its report in six weeks.
The proposed Telangana will have Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Mahaboobnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy and Warangal districts, besides Hyderabad.

The Cabinet decision, after a two-hour meeting chaired by the prime minister, came as a culmination of the July 30 decision of the Congress Working Committee to accept a 60-year-old demand for a separate Telangana state. Following the violent agitation in 2009, erstwhile home minister P Chidambaram had announced the government’s intention to create Telangana.

Throughout the day, a number of Union ministers maintained that Telangana was not on the Cabinet agenda. But the first indication of a decision on Telangana came when the police in the Seemandhra region were asked to be on alert.

Though a section of the Congress leaders was against the bifurcation move, the party has assessed that the division of the state may help it in the Telangana region.
The party prospects in Andhra Pradesh, which has 42 Lok Sabha seats, are dismal for the coming general election. It  now hopes to win as many seats from Telangana. The proposed state will have 17 Lok Sabha and 119 Assembly seats.

The ministers and MPs from Seemandhra had been lobbying against the bifurcation and their intense protests had prompted the Congress leadership to set up a committee under Antony to look into their grievances. However, the committee report was not ready before the Cabinet meeting.

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