06 Jan 2011
New Delhi: Justice Srikrishna Committee has recommended keeping Andhra Pradesh united with Constitutional and Statutory measures for empowerment of the Telangana region 'is the best way forward' while creating a separate state can be the 'second best' option to tackle the statehood demand. These are the two options among the six given by the five-member committee headed by former Supreme Court Judge B N Srikrishna which submitted its report to the Centre last week after holding wide-ranging consultations across Andhra Pradesh since February last year. The Committee itself found that the other four options -- maintaining status quo, bifurcating the state into Seemandhra and Telangana with Hyderabad as Union Territory and the states having their own capitals, bifurcation into Rayala- Telangana and coastal Andhra regions with Hyderabad as part of Rayala-Telangana and bifurcation into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad metropolis as a separate Union Territory -- made by it are not practicable.
It was also conscious of the possible opposition that may come from different quarters even to its two best options. The committee recognised that the Telangana statehood demand is an emotional issue in the region and felt that the option of maintaining status quo could give a 'fillip to the Maoist movement'. The report, eagerly awaited by the people of the state
and elsewhere, was today made public by the Home Ministry even as Minister P Chidambaram met leaders of political parties
from the state and promised them that the Government wants to find a 'just, honourable and practicable' solution that has
the widest measure of support among all stakeholders. Recommending keeping Andhra Pradesh united with Constitutional and Statutory measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region, the committee suggested creation of a statutorily-empowered Telangana Regional Council to be headed by an MLA with cabinet rank.
'The Committee considers that unity is in the best interest of all the three regions of the state as internal partitions would not be conducive to providing sustainable solutions to the issues at hand,' the two-volume 461-page report said.In this option, it is proposed to keep the state united and provide constitutional/statutory measures to address the core socio-economic concerns about development of Telangana region. 'This can be done through the establishment of a statutory and empowered Telangana Regional Council with adequate transfer of funds, functions and functionaries in keeping with the spirit of Gentlemen's Agreement of 1956.' Following are the options and explanation given by the committee: 1. Maintaining Status Quo: The committee said it is of the unanimous view that it would not be a practical approach to simply maintain the status quo in respect of the situation. 'Some intervention is definitely required and though maintaining the existing status quo is an option it is favoured the least,' the panel says.
2. Bifurcation of the state into Seemandhra and Telangana; with Hyderabad as a Union Territory and the two states developing their own capitals in due course: 'There is a definite likelihood of serious backlashes in Telangana region and on overall consideration, the Committee found this option was also not practicable.'
3. Bifurcation of the state into Rayala-Telangana and Coastal Andhra Regions with Hyderabad being an integral part of Rayala-Telangana: 'This scenario is not likely to be accepted either by the pro-Telangana or by the pro-United Andhra protagonists. While this option may have economic justification, the committee believes that this option may not offer a resolution which would be acceptable to people of all three regions,' it says.
4. Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory. This Union Territory will have geographical linkage and contiguity via Nalgonda district in the south-east to Guntur district in coastal Andhra and via Mahaboobnagar district in the south to Kurnool district in Rayalaseema: 'This is likely to receive stiff opposition from Telangana protagonists and it may be difficult to reach a political consensus in making this solution acceptable to all,' it says.
5. Bifurcation of the state into Telangana and Seemandhra as per existing boundaries with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra to have a new capital: 'The committee feels that this option has to be given consideration. The continuing demand for a separate Telangana has some merit and is not entirely justified. In case this option is exercised the apprehensions of the coastal Andhra and the Rayalaseema people and others who were settled in Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana with regard to their investments, properties, livelihood and employment would need to be adequately addressed.
'Considering all aspects, the Committee felt that while creation of separate Telangana would satisfy a large majority of the people from the region, it will also throw up several serious problems. Therefore, after taking into account of the pros and cons the committee did not think it to be most preferred, but the second best option. Separation is recommended only in case it is unavoidable and if decision can be reached amicably amongst all the three regions.'
6. Keeping the state united by simultaneously providing certain definite constitutional/statuary measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region-creation of a statutorily-empowered Telangana Regional Council: 'In this option, it is proposed to keep the state united and provide constitutional/statuary measures to address
the core socio-economic concerns about the development of the Telangana region. This can be done through the establishment of a statutorily-empowered Telangana Regional Council with adequate transfer of funds, functions and functionaries. The regional council will provide a legislative consultative mechanism for the subjects to be dealt with by the Council. 'The united Andhra option is being suggested for continuing the development momentum of the three regions and keeping in mind the national perspective. With firm political and administrative management it should be possible to convey conviction to the people that this option would be in the best interest of all and would provide satisfaction to the maximum number of the people in the state.
'It would also take care of the uncertainty over the future of Hyderabad as a bustling, educational, industrial and IT hub/destination. For management of water and irrigation resources on an equitable basis, a technical body, i.e., Water Management Board and an Irrigation Project Development Corporation in expanded role have been recommended. The above course of action should meet all the issues raised by Telangana people satisfactorily.'The committee discussed all aspects of this optionand while it acknowledges that there will be certaindifficulties in its implementation, on balance, it found itthe most workable option in the given circumstances and in the best interest of the social and economic welfare of the people of all the three regions. The core issue being one of the socio-economic development and good governance, the committee keeping the national perspective in mind, is of the considered view that this option stands out as the best way forward,' it says. PTI