India to have a 29th state: Telangana

Hyderabad to be capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

By Rajiv Theodore

NEW DELHI: After decades-old-fight for separate statehood, which had claimed more than 1,000 lives in the recent past, New Delhi has finally endorsed the creation of another state in the country called Telangana in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The decision to carve out India’s 29th state was decided finally by the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and Congress Working Committee (CWC) meetings which ended late in the evening Tuesday. The statehood will however be accorded after a bill to the effect would be passed in Parliament.

Hyderabad is slated to be the joint capital of the remaining Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for 10 years. The latter comprises 10 districts: Hyderabad, Adilabad, Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy, and Warangal. While Andhra Pradesh consists of two main parts namely Coastal Andhra and Rayalseema.

On ground the process of formation of a new state would take more than six months. The cabinet will share its plans with President Pranab Mukherjee. The Andhra Pradesh assembly would also contribute their insights. Then the Prime Minister would step in to negotiate consensus between leaders in the state for critical issues of resource sharing. All this will be finally given Parliament’s nod when both the houses will have to pass the resolution for the creation of a separate state.

It may be recalled that the demand for a separate identity for Telangana is virtually as old as the state of Andhra Pradesh, which came into existence in November 1956 through the States Reorganization Act. Classified as a semi-arid region with a predominantly hot and dry climate, Telangana is not amongst the most fertile regions of the country. But it does have its share of natural resources and notably contains 20 per cent of the country’s coal deposits. Among other natural resources are mica and bauxite along with some limestone reserves. But given the lack of development, Telangana has served as a fertile ground for the Maoist insurgency to take root. A clutch of leaders of the Naxalite movement belong to this region. Slain Maoist Kishanji, who was No.3 in the rebels’ hierarchy, hailed from Karimnagar district.

Now, with the inclusion of Hyderabad as its shared capital, Telangana would find itself in control of one of the primary centers of India’s tech story.

It was nearly a five decade struggle that intensified in 2009 when the agitation spearheaded by Telangana Rashtra Samithi or TRS, headed by K. Chandrasekhara Rao brought the struggle on the national agenda.

Rao’s fast of 10 days triggered huge rallies of support and the agitation gained strength. In response, the government in December 2009 announced the sanctioning of statehood but backtracked as violent protests erupted in the two other regions of the state-Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalseema.

Right from the beginning pro-Telangana activists had always felt they were justified in asking for separation as a right, from cultural aspects of food, clothing style, outlook and accent, to socio-economic aspects it had been different from the rest of the state. And the most important factor for dissent had been a feeling of being exploited.

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