As the central Group of Ministers (GoM) readies the finishing touches to its report on the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, seven union ministers from Seemandhra conveyed to Mr. Jairam Ramesh their demand to make Hyderabad a permanent Union Territory to safeguard interests of the Seemandhra people settled there.
Union ministers K. Chiranjeevi, M. M. Pallam Raju, J. D. Seelam, Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy, D. Purandeswari, Panabaka Lakhsmi and Killi Krupa Rani met Mr. Ramesh, a member of the GoM in New Delhi on Wednesday to put forth their demands for a final time. They said there was no change in their demand that Hyderabad should be made the Union Territory if the bifurcation process was inevitable.
During the hour-long interaction, their focus was on providing safeguards for the people of Seemandhra region settled in Hyderabad and neighbouring districts. UT status for Hyderabad was the best available option to address the fears of Seemandhra people, they said. They also demanded that Bhadrachalam should be made part of East Godavari district and that Polavaram project be completed at the earliest.
Mr. Ramesh is said to have promised to consider the plea and appraise the GoM members about the concerns of the Seemandhra people.
A majority of the ministers wanted Hyderabad as a permanent UT but Mr. Seelam said it could remain a Union Territory till the new capital was developed. Mr. Suryaprakash Reddy struck a different note by pitching for Rayala Telangana.
Talking to reporters later, Mr. Chiranjeevi said there could be no compromise on permanent UT status for Hyderabad. “Going by the developments, bifurcation appears inevitable. Instead of insisting on keeping the state united, we should talk about the benefits for Seemandhra,” he said.
Further, Mr. Chiranjeevi said: “As Hyderabad is the lifeline for everybody, people have emotional attachment to it and is considered destination of opportunities, it should be made UT. MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi is opposing UT only for political gains.”
Ms. Purandeswari said she had urged the Centre to constitute a committee to identify land viability and water availability for the new capital. “The committee should alone be entrusted the task of identifying the new capital so that there are no other problems associated with bifurcation,” she said.