At its first meeting, Shinde says people’s concerns will be addressed with fairness and objectivity

The Group of Ministers (GoM) on Telangana held its first meeting on Friday and discussed “basic parameters for the creation of a separate State.” However, no major discussion took place on various contentious issues due to the absence of senior Ministers P. Chidambaram and A.K. Antony.

Presided over by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, the six-member GoM “discussed the approach and methodology” to be adopted for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telangana.

“The GoM would like to assure all people of Andhra Pradesh that the relevant issues as well as their concerns would be addressed with fairness and objectivity. The GoM would take the opinion of stakeholders on all important subjects while formulating its recommendations,” an official statement said after the meeting.

Status reports

The GoM finalised Ministries and departments that will prepare status reports, which will be submitted to it on the subjects in the terms of reference, while information in this regard will also be sought from the State government. The GoM will meet again on October 19, the statement said.

Briefing journalists, Mr. Shinde said the Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee report on the issue “will be the basis of the whole exercise.”

GoM member and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said there was no time frame for the GoM to submit a report.

The five-member Srikrishna Committee in its report submitted in 2010 said: “After taking into account all the pros and cons, the committee did not think creation of Telangana to be the most preferred, but the second best option. Separation is recommended only in case it is unavoidable and if this decision can be reached amicably amongst all the three regions. Considering all aspects, the committee felt that while the creation of a separate Telangana would satisfy a large majority of people from the region, it would also throw up several other serious problems... The implications for the other two regions also cannot be ignored.”

Sources in the government said the Centre might consider giving a special financial package to the Seemandhra region, besides building a modern capital for the divided Andhra Pradesh. The GoM would try and address all concerns related to social and infrastructure development in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions to pacify protesters.