‘Such a status with legislature like New Delhi will go a long way in allaying fears of people from Seemandhra who have settled down in the twin cities’

Union Ministers from Seemandhra region on Monday made a strong pitch for declaring Hyderabad a Union Territory equipped with a legislature on the lines of Delhi.

Six Union Ministers -- Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, M. M. Pallam Raju, K. Chiranjeevi, D. Purandeswari, Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy and J. D. Seelam -- at a brief meeting with the Prime Minister, presented a report and sought a firm assurance on safeguards for people of the Seemandhra region in the event of division of Andhra Pradesh.

They said that Union Territory status with legislature like New Delhi would go a long way in allaying the fears of people from Seemandhra who have settled down in the twin cities.

Sharing of river water

Apart from this, they demanded a mechanism to ensure that the river water sharing issues were sorted out before completion of the bifurcation process.

After giving them a patient hearing, the Prime Minister reportedly assured them that justice would be done to all the regions and advised them to meet the Minister of State in the PMO to follow up the matter.

Safeguards

Talking to reporters, Ms. Purandeswari said they made a fervent appeal to keep the State united. In tune with the Terms of Reference given to the Group of Ministers (GoM) on bifurcation, they suggested several law and order safeguards not only for people residing in the twin cities and neighbouring areas but for the Seemandhra region as such.

The Union Territory they proposed would cover the limits of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) limits and a proper law and order.

They wanted restoration of Clause 14 (F) for treating Hyderabad as a free zone, thereby enabling people from all over the State to compete for jobs in the Police Department.

With regard to river water sharing, they wanted an appellate authority to protect the awards given by various tribunals. They sought to know what would be fate of Seemandhra, if the upper riparian State did not honour the awards.

Hefty package

They also wanted a hefty financial package for developing a new capital. The Centre should give Rs. 40,000 crore every year till the infrastructure for the new capital was in place.

Backward regions

About backward regions, particularly Rayalaseema, they wanted necessary funds to be released for its development. Significantly, the Ministers sought tax holiday for at least 20 years, in order to attract investments and setting of industries and distribution of power from hydel sources on the basis of population. They appealed to the Centre to see that distribution of employees was done as per their choice and not forcibly and a common cadre for the all-India service officers for a certain period of time.