Lack of political space, dev resulted in Telangana: Reddy

 Contending that lack of political space and development for Telangana people resulted in creation of the new state, Congress MLA from Andhra Pradesh M Shashidhar Reddy today demanded that concerns of the region and Seemandhra be addressed in a time-bound manner.

Reddy, who is also Vice Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) here, criticised some political leaders for making "irresponsible" statements on Telangana which disrupted peace and affected business.

Expressing concern over the way the proposal for Telangana was approved, he said solution to one issue should not lead to creation of other problems and suggested a time-bound resolution to address apprehensions of people of the various regions.

"With the decision on Telangana, the concerns of the people of all the regions and in particular their apprehensions need to be addressed.

"You have to ensure that acrimony does not crop up again. The apprehension of people of the Seemandhara region has to be addressed," Reddy told PTI.

Reddy, who represents Sanathnagar constituency of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly, also slammed YSR Congress party chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy for his comments over Telangana.

"He (Jaganmohan) is in opposition. He can say whatever he wants.

"His father was probably the first man who in August 2000 got 41 Telanagana MLAs sign a memorandum for the separate state. The memorandum was given to Congress party chairperson when she had visited Hyderabad then," Reddy claimed.

When Jaganmohan had formed his party, he had also said he respect the sentiments of the people for Telangana, he said.

The experience of creating smaller states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand in the context of increased Maoist activities will also be matter of great concern with the formation of Telangana, "as we share borders with the highly affected districts of Maharashtra, Chattisgarh and Orissa," he said.

"There are serious apprehensions about an overall economic slowdown in Telangana.... All these concerns will have to be addressed in a time bound and a very judicious manner," Reddy added.

Reddy, who had gone to jail for five days in 1970 when he was about 21 years old for participating in Telangana movement spearheaded by his father and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh late Channa Reddy, said he had raised the issue to empower the people of Telangana about 15 years ago.

"The decision to form three new states -- Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal-- was part of the Agenda for Governance when the NDA came to power in March 1998.

"I had at that time come out openly saying that the people of Telangana will once again be reminded about its backwardness and regional disparities and, therefore, concrete steps would be required to address developmental issues in Telangana," he said.

Reddy said after his father's demise in late 1996, M Channa Reddy Memorial Trust was set up for utilisation of Godavari waters.

The forum was formed to translate his father's dream for development of people of Telangana  "In fact we had prepared a detailed proposal for a Comprehensive Godavari Lift Irrigation cum Dedicated Power Generating Project, to be taken up as a national project.

"There was all round appreciation but the government at that time - NDA AT the Centre and TDP in the State - totally ignored this between 1999 and 2004," he said.

He said he had raised the issue of increasing the capacity of the Pothireddypadu Head Regulator contemplated by Dr Rajasekhar Reddy to divert flood water to Rayalaseema, without a physical mechanism to regulate it, as it would adversely affect the availability of assured water to Telangana under the Srisailam Dam.

"Ignoring such crucial development issues and several genuine concerns including service matters of government employees led to the growth of the Telangana sentiment, though not always directly proportionate to the voices demanding a separate state.

"Denial of due political space to Telangana after 2004 further contributed to this. Unfortunately, political space was not yielded even after the demand for a separate Telangana reached a crescendo. Had this been done the situation would perhaps have been totally different today," said Reddy, a four -time  MLA.

Reddy said creation of separate Telangana is a very complicated issue, particularly since it involved Hyderabad, which has been the capital of Andhra Pradesh since 1956.

The announcement of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) decision on Telangana on July 30 "was followed by some totally uncalled for and provocative utterances by some irresponsible people which created a feeling of insecurity among the people of Seemandhra including the government employees," Reddy said.

It should be the responsibility of all concerned in Telangana to put behind any talk of acrimony that found expression in the past and act in a very responsible manner, he said.

The apprehensions of the Muslims in Telangana about the impact of creation a separate state on various counts have also to be taken serious note of and appropriately addressed, Reddy said.

"The safety and security of the Seemandhra settlers and their properties and businesses must be ensured at all costs as in any case that will contribute to enhance image of brand Hyderabad," Reddy said.

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