In a significant development that could have implications for the process of division of the State, officials of the Law Ministry reportedly told the Group of Ministers (GoM) that an amendment to Article 371 (D) of the Constitution was necessary as part of bifurcation.

Ministry officials told the GoM during their five-hour-long meeting here on Thursday night that an amendment was needed to Article 371 D which lays down special provisions for giving equal opportunities in education and employment. This suggestion has political implications in that passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill needs two-thirds majority in Parliament which is possible only with the BJP’s support.

The GoM decided to seek the advice of Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati on Friday before proceeding further with the Bill. The Ministers enquired whether a single Bill on bifurcation was enough to complete the process or a separate Bill was required to bring the amendment.

Continuing its deliberations with the secretaries of various ministries, the GoM, attended by S. K.Shinde, M. Veerappa Moily, Jairam Ramesh and V. Narayanaswamy, discussed various other issues with officials of the Finance, Law and Justice, Personnel and Training, Surface Transport, Railways and Shipping Ministries who were present at the meeting.

A senior Union Minister told waiting journalists that the draft Bill on bifurcation would be ready by November 20. The GoM would meet Union Ministers from Telangana at 11 a.m. and those from Seemandhra at 11.30 a.m. and Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy later that day for further consultations.

Finance Ministry officials said they would give their opinion on sharing of revenue accruing in Hyderabad and other crucial finance-related issues once other departments completed their task. There was lack of unanimity on how the revenue should be shared after bifurcation.

The demand to create a railway zone for Seemandhra region as South Central Railway would be part of Telangana State.

This entails making Waltair division a new zone by delinking it from the East Coast Railway. Discussions with the Shipping Ministry officials centred round development of the Duggarajpalli port in Nellore district.

The meeting examined the recommendation for constructing a high-speed express highway to connect Hyderabad to Seemandhra region and completing it by 2018.