One year after bifurcation, how have Telangana and Andhra fared?
news Tuesday, June 02, 2015 - 05:30
It was 9 December 2009. Then Union Minister of Home Affairs P. Chidambaram, made a public announcement that the Indian government would start the process of forming a separate Telangana state The Telangana agitation had gained a lot of momentum and this announcement came in its background, in what seemed like an attempt to control the situation. However, what the UPA - 2 led government at the centre did not expect was that the decision would spawn a new agitation - this time across Andhra and Rayalseema. The 'Seemandhra' or 'Samaikya Andhra' movement which was launched as a counter to the demands of a separate Telangana state has been buried in history as no movement ever flaunts its loss. The movement saw the entire region of Andhra and Rayalseema in turmoil as students, workers, lawyers & various organizations in the region took to the streets demanding that the state be kept united. MLAs submitted resignations and public property was destroyed, all demanding the reversal of the home minister's statement. While Telangana celebrates its success on June 2nd, Andhra will not be so pleased. The two states have come a long way in the past year. Telangana saw a spate of farmer suicides, the swine flu scare and now the heat wave, which it has managed to tackle. AP also witnessed rampant destruction when calamity struck in the form of cyclone HudHud. The strong tropical cyclone which destroyed bridges and uprooted trees, left the state two steps behind where it started. While looking at the problems faced by the two states, one must not overlook the problem faced between the two states. In the last year, Telangana and AP have fought over power, water, distribution of staff and administration, common entrance exams and not to forget the lasting battle for separate institutions to call their own like the High Court and the state transport corporation. The water and power controversy which started with the Telangana government declining to adhere to the suggestion made by the joint team of officials of two states to release 10 tmc feet of water downstream from the Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir for drinking purposes. After various outbursts and both parties taking digs at each other, then followed by one threatening to take the other to the Supreme Court, the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) finally stepped in and ordered the release of 6 tmc feet later. The dispute ended when the two chief ministers met in the presence of common governor ESL Narasimhan in February 2015. The Engineering Agricultural and Medical Common Entrance test (EAMCET) also sparked a row between the two states, with each state trying to lay claims on its privilege to conduct the exams. The result? Both the states conducted separate EAMCET this year with nearly 10000 students appearing for the test in both the states. The two states have even fought over something as inane as the renaming of the Hyderabad airport with the police actually moving in and taking senior leaders who sat down in protest in front of the airport, into protective custody. In recent times, disputes have settled down with all major disagreements now being shifted to the battlefield of politics. Normalcy, at least in terms of routine, has returned in both the states as people go on with their daily lives. Both KCR and Naidu, still have the mammoth task of developing an entire state ahead of them. While KCR has an established capital but with neighbouring districts like Nalgonda in need of serious development, Naidu has resources spread out across the state, with no centralized focal point. Both the states have been going full throttle to attract investors with Telangana looking to the west and Andhra Pradesh looking further east. AP also has the added disadvantage of empty coffers which is why it must rely on its ally in the centre or investors from Singapore to help build its capital. It is perhaps time then for both the chief ministers to focus on the development of their respective states without making their capitals a cash cow, and lead by example rather than frivolous arguments.