No headway at MHA meeting between TS and A.P. on pending issues

September 27, 2022 06:10 pm | Updated 09:34 pm IST - HYDERABAD

 Somesh Kumar

Somesh Kumar | Photo Credit:

The meeting convened by the Union Home Ministry to resolve the pending bifurcation issues between the two Telugu States — Telangana and Andhra Pradesh — did not make much headway as the two States stayed firm on their respective stances on crucial issues like division of Schedule X institutions, AP State Finance Corporation and division of Singareni Collieries Company Limited.

Court cases filed by the two States in respect of division of some institutions as well as the definition of headquarters resulted in the stalemate with Union Home Secretary asking the Ministry to examine the issues in consultation with the Law department keeping in view of the orders given by the High Court. The Telangana delegation led by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar made a strong case pertaining to the division of the erstwhile APSFC claiming that the Centre did not act on its request for reconstitution of the corporation’s board. The State sought reconstitution of the board as the then board of the APSFC prepared bifurcation plan unilaterally while the A.P. government had approached the High Court against resumption of 238 acre land resulting in a status quo on the issue.

Representatives of A.P. contended that the Union government should keep aside the land issue and take up the remaining issues. Telangana however objected to the contention as the issue pertains to the definition of headquarters and whether the lands in dispute would be considered as part of headquarters asset or not.

Speaking order

The Chief Secretary recalled the speaking order issued by the Home Ministry in respect of bifurcation of Schedule X institutions that cash balances between the two States would be divided on population ratio and assets on location basis. Responding to A.P. government’s claim that Schedule X institutions should also be divided on population ratio not on location basis, the Chief Secretary asserted: “Telangana State is fully in agreement with the speaking order.” Telangana was of the view that Union Ministry’s order was based on the Supreme Court’s direction and hence, no further review of the matter was needed. “Any such review by MHA is strongly protested by Telangana,” he said.

The division of SCCL yet again figured in the discussion with A.P. government seeking bifurcation of SCCL as it had assets in successor State, but Telangana strongly objected to the claim asserting that the question did not arise as there was specific provision in the Reorganisation Act transferring 51 % of equity to Telangana State completely. The only division that should be done was that of the equity of the then AP government in the AP Heavy Machinery Engineering Limited, a subsidiary of SCCL.

Cash, bank balances

In respect of the division of cash and bank balance (funds under Centrally sponsored schemes/ expenditure on common institutions/ public debt pertaining to externally aided projects), the Home Secretary directed the two States to take the help of the Comptroller and Auditor General for settling them. Responding to a request made by Telangana, the Home Secretary directed the Union Finance Ministry to take steps to release funds for development of backward districts while the Ministry of Higher Education was directed to the examine the matter relating to setting up of tribal university and take expeditious steps accordingly.

The Telangana delegation also objected to A.P.’s request for amending the Reorganisation Act to remove matters relating to tax anomaly mentioned in Section 50, 51 and 56. Telangana was against amendment to the Act at this length of time after eight years of formation of the State. The meeting also discussed about the cash credit due to A.P. State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited by its Telangana counterpart and release of rice subsidy due to Telangana as also the apportionment of institutions not mentioned anywhere in the Act.

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