The Congress-led UPA coalition came under criticism for the manner in which it has been handling the contentious Telangana Statehood issue without taking up reconciliation measures and giving assurances that it would address the concerns of the two regions.
The Centre should have taken the initiative of convening meetings of the stakeholders and allayed their apprehensions giving specific assurances, but no effort has been forthcoming in that direction resulting in rising animosities among the people. Though the government had clarified that there was no going back on its decision, it had failed to explore common areas of reconciliation and the way forward, speakers at a meeting organised here on Saturday said.
The meeting was organised by The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy with the theme “Dealing with the costs of division — a dialogue towards reconciliation.” (www.thehinducentre.com)
Representatives of political parties and industry, experts in economics, irrigation and other core sectors and journalists who attended the meeting, however, voiced their reservation against proposals for making Hyderabad a joint capital or union territory as it would lead to more complications in future.
The debate covered various facets of the issue, such as the status of Hyderabad, revenue sharing and resource sharing.
A majority of the speakers, including CESS professor E. Revathi and agriculture economist D.A. Somayajulu, were of the view that sharing of river water and energy could be addressed as there were established norms governing the two sectors.
“But infrastructure — industrial, educational and economic — that made Hyderabad a super economic hub cannot be created in the new State,” Mr. Somayajulu said.
He said depending on the Central government for financial assistance, at a time when the Centre itself was faced with unprecedented revenue and fiscal deficits, would be akin to “living in a fool’s paradise.” There was no constitutional provision that could ensure the division of revenues between the two States either.
The meeting lamented that there was no coordination between the political establishment and institutional mechanism that would need to go hand in hand on such crucial issues.
“The stage probably has not come where administrative machinery will come into the picture,” the former Union Finance Secretary, S. Narayan, who moderated the panel on sharing of resources, said.
The former Chief Secretary of Chhattisgarh, P. Joy Oommen said the division of a State entailed several issues, as it was not confined to economics, but was related to emotional investments made by the people.
Moreover, division was not the end of the road for Seemandhra people as it would, in fact, open new doors for inclusive all-round growth of the region. “This will provide an opportunity to reengineer the entire development process,” he said.
Information Technology veteran J.A. Chowdary said the city registered 26 per cent growth in IT exports in spite of the disturbances. It was for the Central government to take a decision either in favour or against the Statehood issue to ensure that the reputation of the city was not hit.