Centre okays Telangana state

Cabinet drops Rayala-Telangana move; Anantpur, Kurnool excluded

Centre okays Telangana state

The Centre on Thursday night approved a proposal to carve a new Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh with 10 districts. It also abandoned plans to add two Rayalaseema districts, Anantpur and Kurnool, to the new state.

The Union Cabinet had a marathon meeting before arriving at the decision. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said a bill to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh would be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee within two days. The President is expected to refer it to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly for its views. Once the state Assembly gives its opinion on the bill, it would be placed before Parliament for consideration and passing.

Telangana and the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh will share Hyderabad, comprising the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation area, as  a common capital for a period not more than 10 years. An expert panel will be set up within 45 days of the passage of the bill to identify a new capital for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh.

Addressing a key concern of the people from Seemandhra, as the residuary state is popularly referred to, the Cabinet decided that the governor of Telangana would have a special responsibility to ensure the security of life, liberty and property of all the citizens residing in Hyderabad.

 The Centre will appoint two advisers to the governor to assist him in carrying out the special responsibilities.

The government decision caps the hectic process of final consultations spearheaded by a group of ministers chaired by Shinde which met 10 times, scoured through 18,000 emails containing suggestions from the general public and met a number of delegations from pitching both in favour and against Telangana.

After a series of protests for a separate Telangana, the Congress Working Committee on July 30 gave its approval for the creation of new state. Two months later on October 3, the Cabinet decided to set up the GoM to steer the process.

Contrary to expectations, the GoM had put up a single proposal of a 10-district Telangana before the Cabinet on Thursday night for approval. The meeting saw HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju and Textiles Minister K S Rao, both from Seemandhra, opposing the proposal.

The government also floated the idea of adding two Rayalaseema districts to Telangana with an eye on maximising political benefit in the new state but had to beat a hasty retreat following widespread protests. The proposal would have given Telangana 12 districts, 21 Lok Sabha seats.

Delegations of leaders from Telangana mounted last-minute efforts to impress upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi the futility of adding two Rayalaseema districts to Telangana.

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