The Minister for Tribal Welfare, however, reiterates that he is a staunch Andhra integrationist

If the division of State is inevitable, three States can be formed and Visakhapatnam made capital of Andhra area, Minister for Tribal Welfare P. Balaraju said here on Wednesday.

“I am a staunch integrationist,” Mr. Balaraju asserted at a press conference but if the division of the State was inevitable as the decision was taken in unavoidable circumstances, it should be done in such a way that development measures were distributed equally in all the three regions. “It is also regrettable that no one talks about Girijans and their plight in the din of the present agitation,” he said.

Visakhapatnam was best suited for becoming capital of a new State but at the same time it had not received its due. Whether it was the lack of development of Visakhapatnam or the backwardness of Girijans, Congress and he too have to take the blame. KGH or Andhra University among others still lack many facilities, he pointed out.

Regarding Girijan areas, the Tribal Welfare Minister said there was no connectivity between areas in one district with others except the National Highway or a State Highway. Many Girijan villages were far away from roads.

He also reiterated his stand that Girijan districts should be created in the new States so that development of Girijans would get a proper focus.

“Discussion on the division of the State is necessary to understand our mistakes and correct them. Decentralisation of infrastructure and development, transport, health and education and other areas must be discussed.”

Food bill hailed

Mr. Balaraju hailed the Food Security Bill as one of the most significant achievements of the UPA government and thanked AICC president Sonia Gandhi for her initiative.