Long road to resolution: Telangana’s persistent standoff with Andhra Pradesh on bifurcation issues

Several issues including the division of institutions remain unresolved 

Updated - June 02, 2023 01:54 pm IST

Published - June 02, 2023 02:12 am IST - HYDERABAD

Andhra Pradesh Government shifting the material leftover in the Telangana Secretariat following Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan’s directions to handover the vacant buildings to Telangana Government, in Hyderabad on June 10, 2019.

Andhra Pradesh Government shifting the material leftover in the Telangana Secretariat following Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan’s directions to handover the vacant buildings to Telangana Government, in Hyderabad on June 10, 2019. | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

Telangana, entering into the 10th year of its formation on June 2, may have made remarkable progress in several performance indicators like power and agriculture, but bifurcation issues such as division of assets and liabilities with neighbouring Andhra Pradesh have remained unresolved so far.

While sharing of river waters continues to be a contentious issue, stalemate over the division of institutions – 91 under Schedule IX and 162 under Schedule X in addition to 12 others which were not mentioned in the AP Reorganisation Act – continues as the two States interpret the provisions of the Act in their own way.

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These institutions involve a fixed value of an estimated ₹1.42 lakh crore and this includes the value of headquarter assets of Schedule IX institutions pegged at ₹24,018.53 crore and that of Schedule X institutions at ₹34,642.77 crore while the value of 12 other institutions is estimated at ₹1,759 crore.

The recommendations made by the expert committee headed by retired bureaucrat Sheela Bhide have been a bone of contention between the two States. The A.P. government has been demanding that all the recommendations be implemented in toto, claiming that Telangana had selectively accepted the recommendations and that was resulting in the delay in division of assets and liabilities.

The Telangana government, however, is firm in its stand that those recommendations were against the interests of the State. The Reorganisation Act, for instance, clearly defines the headquarters assets in Section 53. “The assets and liabilities relating to any commercial or industrial undertaking of the existing State of Andhra Pradesh, where such undertaking or part thereof is exclusively located in, or its operations are confined to, a local area, shall pass to the State in which that area is included on the appointed day, irrespective of the location of its headquarters,” the Act specificies.

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The two States reached a consensus on division of employees with the process in the power utilities posing some problems initially and the YSR Congress government of Andhra Pradesh headed by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy took the initiative to hand over the secretariat premises to Telangana after he took over the reins in 2019, paving the way for the construction of the new integrated secretariat complex.

However, several other issues remain unresolved in spite of meetings convened by the committee headed by Union Home Secretary as chairman and comprising Chief Secretaries of the two States as members. The dispute resolution committee headed by Home Ministry’s joint secretary too convened a series of meetings, but could not break the impasse.

With a bilateral meeting convened by the Union Home Ministry failing to cut the ice, the Andhra Pradesh government approached the Supreme Court seeking just, reasonable and equitable apportionment of assets and liabilities between the two States.

The Reorganisation Act empowers the Union government to intervene as and when needed to resolve the stalemate and the Home Ministry had, in fact, given some speaking orders in relation to the division of assets and liabilities. But the Centre should have taken the initiative a few years ago for expeditiously ending the stalemate, lament officials.

In this backdrop, the insistence of the Union Home Ministry on Telangana’s stand on the division of assets pertaining to AP Bhavan in New Delhi could be seen as a step towards the Centre’s willingness to intervene and iron out the differences between the two States.

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