New Delhi: Telangana will be the 29th state of India comprising 10 districts with plenty of water and some other natural resources in a backward region lacking development that was at the heart of the separate state demand.
As and when the state is formed, the jewel in the crown will always be the city of Hyderabad, which may for some time, at least 10 years to start with, be the joint capital for the rest of Andhra.
With a population of over 3.5 crore, the new state comprising mostly the areas of the princely Nizam state will have 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 assembly seats.
When it joins the Indian Union, people of the region would hope that the new identity would help them overcome the challenges of poverty and backwardness which were at the roots of the separate state movement.
The demand for a separate identity for Telangana is virtually as old as the state of Andhra Pradesh, which came into existence in November 1956 through the States Reorganisation Act.
The Andhra Pradesh government website says: "Telangana agitation was started by the people of the region when they felt that Andhra leaders had flouted the Gentlemen's Agreement which facilitated the formation of Andhra Pradesh.
"In the beginning, the movement demanded the implementation of the safeguards agreed upon earlier, but later it wanted the separation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh."
That the seat of government in Hyderabad has persistently ignored the needs of Telangana at the expense of the other regions of the state has been a constant grouse of the advocates of separate statehood.
The new Telangana state would comprise the 10 districts of Hyderabad, Medak, Adilabad, Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy and Warangal.
Now, according to the Backward Regions Grant Fund 2009-10, 13 districts in Andhra Pradesh have been identified as being backward, of which nine are in Telangana.
Classified as a semi-arid region with a predominantly hot and dry climate, Telangana is not amongst the most fertile regions of the country.
But it does have its share of natural resources and notably contains 20% of the country's coal deposits.
Among other natural resources are mica and bauxite along with some limestone reserves.
Telangana a fertile ground for Maoist insurgency
But given the lack of development, Telangana has served as a fertile ground for the Maoist insurgency to take root.
A clutch of leaders of the Naxalite movement hail from the region. Slain Maoist Kishanji, who was No.3 in the rebels' hierarchy, hailed from Karimnagar district.
As proponents of a separate Telangana claim, the carving out of a new state would give a fresh impetus for the people of the region to aspire for growth and development.
Especially with the inclusion of Hyderabad, Telangana would find itself in control of one of the primary centres of India's tech story.
Offices of major national and international corporates houses are present in Hyderabad, drawing people from across the country to the city.
Needless to say it is the loss of Hyderabad which would rankle most with 'Unified Andhra' supporters.
But the people of Telangana argue that the seat of the Nizams was always an integral part of their region.
The Telangana agitation, as they point out, was started by the people of the region who complained that "Andhra" leaders had flouted the "Gentlemen's Agreement" which had facilitated the formation of the state, in November 1956.
The feeling of betrayal was also implicit in the discontent, which spread among Telangana officials and the unemployed youth of the region, who felt they were being exploited by the people from the rest of the state who had flocked to the new capital.
'Telangana will come into being in 4 to 5 months'
The CWC, the highest decision making body of the Congress, passed a resolution on Tuesday after the United Progressive Alliance's co-ordination committee endorsed statehood for Telangana earlier in the day.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said the new state will come into being in four to five months.
Congress spokesman Ajay Maken said the CWC meeting was presided over by party president Sonia Gandhi and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh among others. Both strongly pitched for Telangana.
Manmohan Singh told the meeting that the formation of Telangana was very much required "for the development of the entire Andhra region".
"It is resolved to request the central government to take steps to form a separate state of Telangana," Maken said, reading from the resolution.
Digvijaya Singh said the issue would go to the Andhra Pradesh assembly, whose resolution will be sent to the union cabinet, which will appoint a group of ministers to look into issues relating to sharing of water, electricity and safety and security of all three regions of the state.
The CWC decision followed protracted discussions in the party following divisions between its leaders in Andhra Pradesh favouring statehood to Telangana and those opposed to it.
Celebrations broke out in Telangana after the Congress leaders announced the decision. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) and other groups were jubilant.
Earlier, the UPA coordination committee endorsed statehood to Telangana.
"All parties unanimously decided in favour of Telangana," Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said after the meeting held at the prime minister's official residence.
It was attended by leaders of constituent parties like the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, National Conference and Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal.
The decision by CWC fulfilled a five-decade-old demand of the people of Telangana. This will create two states for Telugu-speaking people.
The announcement ended a chapter in the history of Andhra Pradesh, which was formed Nov 1, 1956 with the merger of Telangana (then known as Hyderabad State) with Andhra State.
Andhra Pradesh will become India's first non-Hindi linguistic state to be divided. Carved out of Madras State in 1953, it was the first state to be formed on linguistic basis.
Andhra Pradesh was India's fifth most populous state, with a population of 84.6 million. Spread over 275,000 square km, it ranked fourth among Indian states in terms of geographical area.
Telangana will have a population of 35.38 million and an area of 1.14 lakh square km.
Telangana, which comprises 10 districts including Hyderabad, was part of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad and has a distinct culture.
Its leaders had accused rulers from Andhra for doing injustice to the region in all sectors and going back on the assurances given at the time of the merger.
Tuesday's decision brought down the curtains on the controversial and violent movement for separate state.
During the 'Jai Telangana' movement in 1969, over 300 people, mostly students, were killed in police firing.
With this, the central government has fulfilled its Dec 9, 2009 announcement to initiate the process for forming Telangana state.
The statement followed an 11-day hunger strike by TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao and massive protests that engulfed the region.
'Not an easy decision'
Congress on Tuesday said the decision to form a separate state of Telangana was "not an easy one" despite being taken after widest possible consultations.
"The Congress Working Committee acknowledges that the decision to form a separate State of Telangana has not been an easy decision," says the resolution by the CWC on the issue.
With parties and people divided on regional lines, the apex policy making body of the party appealed to all Congressmen and women as well as to all Telugu speaking people and residents of Andhra Pradesh to extend their fullest cooperation.
It said fullest cooperation is necessary so that the resolution could be implemented in letter and spirit and that ensures the peace and goodwill and progress and prosperity among all sections of the people of both states.
It is resolved to request the Central Government:
- To take steps in accordance with the Constitution of India to form a separate state of Telangana.
- To establish, simultaneously and within a definite time frame, institute mechanism to address the concerns of the people of the regions of Andhra, Rayalseema on matters relating to (but not limited to) the sharing of river waters, generation and distribution of electricity, safety and security of all residents in all the three regions, and the guarantee of the fundamental rights of all residents.
- To declare that Hyderabad will be the common capital of both states for a period of 10 years after the formation of the state of Telangana and to put in place legal and administrative measures to ensure that both state governments can function efficiently from the common capital during the said period of 10 years.
- To assist in the building of a new capital for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh within a period of 10 years.
- To declare the Plavaram Irrigation project as a National Project and to provide adequate funds to complete the same.
- To identify the special needs of the backward regions/ districts of Andhra Pradesh and to provide adequate funds for the development of those areas.
- To assist the government of Andhra Pradesh and, after the formation of the state of Telangana, assist both state governments to maintain law and order and ensure peace and harmony in all the regions/districts.