The Justice Srikrishna Committee began its maiden consultations in coastal Andhra Pradesh on Monday with a visit to Savarigudem, a tiny village in Gannavaram mandal near here, and later by interacting with representatives of political parties and civil society organisations at State Guest House.
The committee is scheduled to visit Guntur and West Godavari districts on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Justice Srikrishna, accompanied by member Ranbir Singh, member-secretary Vinod K. Duggal, senior consultant Ravi Dhingra, State government's nodal officer Rajiv Sharma, District Collector Peeyush Kumar and other officials, spent about 30 minutes in Savarigudem and tried to elicit the views of the villagers about the different dimensions of the demand for bifurcation of the State.
An MBA graduate from Hyderabad L.V. Gangadhar, who is a native of the village, impressed the committee members by explaining in English the disadvantages that would accrue to coastal Andhra if the State was bifurcated. “There is no merit in the argument that Telangana region suffered injustice in terms of agriculture, irrigation and jobs. In fact, it is the coastal Andhra that suffered the most in all these aspects,” he asserted.
He said that industrial development was concentrated heavily around Hyderabad to the disadvantage of coastal region. Also, because of the migration of a large number of people from coastal districts to Hyderabad and surroundings, coastal Andhra had lost nearly 15 Assembly constituencies that were gained by Telangana.
M. Subba Rao, a retired director of the Airports Authority of India and Kadiyala Sitaramaiah, a political activist, representing an organisation called the Andhra Pradesh Parirakshana Samithi, asserted that the demand for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh was a result of “political unemployment”.
Doing most of the questioning on behalf of the committee, Mr. Duggal asked the villagers whether they had any relatives settled in Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana, whether they conveyed their apprehensions about the agitation, why there where no settlers from Telangana region in this part of the state and so on.