Centre did no homework on bifurcation: Kiran Reddy

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 25, 2013 17:27 hrs

Hyderabad: Accusing the Centre of trivialising the state bifurcation process by taking "shortcut routes" without doing any "homework", Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy tonight demanded that the "established practises and conventions" be followed by first referring the issue to the state Assembly for "appropriate resolution".

Centre should "initiate steps to bring in peace and harmony and create a congenial atmosphere" before taking further steps, he said, alleging it was "ignoring majority people's opinion" in the entire process.

"Pursuing the division process, without doing any homework by Government of India, is creating anxiety and apprehensions in the minds of majority of the population.

"People are upset with the way decisions are being taken and the process being pushed through ignoring all conventions and procedures apart from official statements made by Union Ministers on behalf of the Government of India.

"Strong belief is gaining ground that Government of India is ignoring majority people's opinion," the Chief Minister said in a three-page letter addressed separately to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today.

The Centre added fuel to the fire by bringing the Cabinet Note for creation of new state as "table item", he said, adding that an important item having serious implications for crores of people was thus trivialised.

The note was brought before Cabinet meeting apparently waiving due consultation process with the related ministries in a hurried manner on the pretext that the composition of Group of Ministers covers all the important ministries that are expected to be consulted, the Chief Minister said.

"To our shock, the subsequent orders issued by the Cabinet Secretariat excluded the crucial ministries like Water Resources, Urban Development, Power, HRD and also Planning Commission that were listed in the Cabinet Note circulated.

"All these shortcuts are raising doubts in the minds of people about the fairness of the process and justness of actions.

"The minimum we expect from the Government of India is to follow the established practises and conventions and, as a first step, refer the matter to the State Assembly for appropriate resolution," the letter said.

"After getting the resolution, building consensus among various stakeholders, the Bill can be sent to the President of India for further reference to State Legislature," the CM wrote in the letter to the Prime Minister.

In the letter to the President, Kiran requested him to "direct the Union Government to seek resolution on the division of the State from the Legislature as per the conventions established".

"After getting the appropriate resolution, through a transparent process of open discussion and debate, we need to build consensus among the various stakeholders before the draft Bill is sent by His Excellency to State Legislature."

Kiran noted that the legislatures of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh had passed unanimous resolutions and Union Cabinet acted only after receipt of resolutions (and created the three new states).

He also recalled the statements made by P Chidambaram, as Union Home Minister in 2009 and Finance Minister in 2013, that "appropriate resolution" would be moved in the state Assembly and "the Government will take on board all views, including concerns on status of Hyderabad, before taking a decision on how to take forward the process" of bifurcation.

"The whole issue now boils down to addressing concerns expressed by the majority people in the State of Andhra Pradesh... A very major concern of the people is about sharing of irrigation water and management of major irrigation dams. This problem is unique to AP without any parallel or precedent. State division vertically divides the irrigation structures (dams) and the river course into two halves," Kiran said. 

Education and medical infrastructure in Hyderabad, and the status of Hyderabad itself which has become island of opportunities for all the Telugu people, are other major concerns that demand solutions. There was also no precedent where an existing capital was given away to a newly-created state, he said.

Government of India did not listen to various stakeholders, nor did it work towards finding solutions to any of these issues," he said in the letter.

"The Srikrishna Committee report was never discussed or debated in Parliament, nor its recommendations considered. Secondly, the (A K) Antony Committee appointed by the (Congress) party did not complete its task of consulting various stakeholders. Why is GoI not willing to wait for the committee's report or is open to debate and discussion in Parliament about such an important matter is something that we cannot understand."

Further, required consultations and legal examination were not carried out on the fate of Article 371D of the Constitution that deals specially with Andhra Pradesh, he said.

"The Article has been incorporated in the Constitution to provide equal opportunities in public employment and educational institutions to backward regions. Government employees and students are likely to face serious consequences if adequate homework is not done in this regard."

Copies of the resolution adopted by United Andhra Pradesh Congress MLCs and MLAs Forum and orders issued by the Union Cabinet Secretary (on the constitution of GoM) were attached to the letter.

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