'Creation of Telangana would fuel demands for separate Seema'

New Delhi: Creation of a separate Telangana state will imply accepting the full demands of Telangana people that will assuage "perceived sense of discrimination and neglect", but would fuel agitation for a separate Rayalaseema state, the Justice Srikrishna Committee has said.

In its 461-page detailed report, the five-member panel on the statehood demand said its visits to the region in the past 11 months indicate that a very large number of people in Telangana were "highly supportive" of the demand for a separate state, an appreciable segment was found to be neutral while some sections were not in favour of it.

The report identified Warangal, west Khammam, Nizamabad, Karimanagar, southern Adilabad, Siddipet in Medal, parts of Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar as the areas where "strong pro-Telangana elements" are present.

It also said the "most vociferous" and agitating sections in the Telangana region are students of Osmania and Kakatiya Universities, unemployed youth, lawyers and non-gazetted government employees.

"This option (carving out of Telangana) implies accepting the full demands of a large majority of Telangana people for a separate state that will assuage their emotional feelings and sentiments as well as the perceived sense of discrimination and neglect," the committee noted.

It also said one of the implications of the option is the impact on the internal security situation with the anticipated growth of Naxalism and religious fundamentalism.

Another implication that the Committee pointed out in case the option is considered is that the "agitation for separation of Rayalaseema from coastal Andhra may also start taking shape sooner than expected."

The committee said the neutral elements on the demand for a separate state are the original population of Hyderabad, including large segments of AIMIM, villages and mandals bordering Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Karnataka and the settler villages and mandals in the Telangana heartland and the migrant population in Hyderabad from Seemandhra and other parts of the country.

The committee also said the aspirations of a large section of tribals on the northern side of Telangana, particularly the hill tribals, are for a separate state of Manayaseema and of the tribal belt which cuts across Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, to be under a single administrative system.

"The SCs/BCs and the minorities have their own aspirations for appropriate political space, economic development and reservation benefits," the report says.

The panel said it is of the view that given the long history of the demand for a separate Telangana, the "highly charged emotions" at present and the likelihood of the agitation continuing in case the demand is not met, consideration has to be given to this option.

The continuing demand, therefore, for a separate Telangana, the Committee felt, has some merit and is not entirely unjustified.

In case the option is exercised, the report says, the apprehensions of the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema people and others who have settled in Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana with regard to their investments, properties, livelihood and employment would need to be adequately addressed.

It said confidence should be instilled in them that their safety and security would get the highest priority from the new dispensation.

The report also noted that if a separate Telangana option is considered, this decision will give rise to serious and violent agitations in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, where the backlash will be immediate with the key issues being Hyderabad and sharing of water and irrigation resources.

Even though water and irrigation issues can be handled by creating autonomous and semi-autonomous structures, the apprehensions of the people of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema will continue to be voiced, the report said.

Noting that if a separate Telangana state is formed there can also be local laws restraining physical movement of goods and services between neighbouring regions and between states, the committee said such fears are very strong in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.

"There is apprehension that Hyderabad city as a market destination and also a source of supply will be out of bounds on the creation of Telangana with Hyderabad as a separate state," the report says.

It also notes that coastal Andhra would also lose a major market inherent in the huge population, business, and market concentration of the city of Hyderabad.

On this count, the report says, division of Andhra Pradesh can only be a negative factor which would inhibit the economic growth of the newly formed states.

"Economically, the land locked region of Telangana may also lose out on access and opportunities to the eastern coastline which has a major port in Vishakhapatnam and many other sea ports," the Srikrishna Committee said.

With vast discoveries of oil and gas on the anvil and the resultant likely spurt in economic growth and employment in the coastal region, an integrated economy is likely to benefit the people of both regions optimally rather than through separation by formation of Telangana state.

"However, the overall economic viability of Telangana with Hyderabad is projected to be stable and as a matter of fact the GDP of this state will be much larger than many other states in the country," it said.