The Telangana Group of Ministers on Friday reviewed the progress made by the Andhra Pradesh government with regards to the bifurcation of the state on various fronts. Presided over by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and attended by Defence Minister A K Antony and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, the GoM, during its hour-long meeting expressed its satisfaction, saying that the state administration was doing a meticulous, serious and professional job.
“We are keen and hopeful that many issues will get resolved before the June 2,” Ramesh said, adding that the government of Andhra Aradesh has set up a special state reorganisation division headed by a special chief secretary and has five principal secretaries as its members.
Besides that, 19 committees have been set up to work out the details. Union Home secretary Anil Goswami, who visited Andhra earlier this week briefed the GoM about the ground situation. The GoM decided to announce an expert committee for the creation of new capital for Seemandhra in a couple of days.
Later, Ramesh held a detailed briefing saying that the purpose of the GoM is to find out that what extent "have we progressed on bifurcation" since the appointed day of June 2, 2014 is approaching fast, by which two new states would be created. The 19 committees which have been set up to work out details on the bifurcation include:
1) Physical assets; 2) financial assets;3) allocation of employees; 4) companies and corporations of Andhra Pradesh government; 5) contracts; 6) institutions such as training; 7) security and police; 8) resource mobilisation; 9) special development package; 10) irrigation; 11) power and coal; 12) to deal with the issues of New Capital;13) higher education;14) medical institutions; 15) services( provided by the AP government); 16) law and court cases; 17) infrastructure (roads, highways, ports etc); 18) all India service officers and 19) departmental restructuring. Jairam stressed that the state government is expected to work out details on these 19 aspects and complete their work under the State Reorganisation Act by March 31.
“As far as the Centre is concerned, Ramesh said, “The GoM reviewed their future actions including an expert committee for a new capital to be announced in a couple of days or may be early next week.”
“Two committees for bifurcating employees have already been set up -- one committee will look after the bifurcation of about 84,000 state level employees and the other one will look after the bifurcation of Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service officers etc,” Ramesh said.
A special unit has also been set up in the planning commission to deal with the special development needs of Seemandhra and has already started functioning under the deputy chairman of the planning commission.
Focus on three issues
Ramesh said that they reviewed ministry-wise developments but focussed on three ministries where urgent action has to be taken -- ministry of water resources, the finance ministry and the HRD.
In the case of water ministry, the immediate action required is that a reference has to be made to the Brajesh Kumar Tribunal; they have to indicate Telangana’s as well as Seemandhra water share.
With regards to the HRD, there is a need for issuing detailed guidelines for continuing common admission courses. The existing quota in the state reorganisation ACt is frozen for 10 years. “The issue concerned to finances will be referred to the finance commission. When the successive states are formed, Seemandhra does not face a huge deficit. Assurances of resources will be available from the Government of India until the finance commission announces its award,” Ramesh said.
“Besides these, another issue which came up at the GoM was the issue of the high court. The AP Reorganisation Act indicates that there will be a common high court until a new HC is set up. The Government of India policy is that two high courts should become functional soon and should not take very long to set up. However, under the Article 214 of the Constitution, it will be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who will drive this process. The Centre has requested the state government, the chief secretary and the governor, to approach the CJ to take the matter,” Ramesh said.
“The law ministry has advised the Union government not to put a deadline in the Act, as it constitutes unwarranted interference with the functioning of the Supreme Court and that is why the Act said there shall be two high courts,” he said.
Ramesh said many decisions of the bifurcation will be taken up after the creation of two new states. However, he said that GoM will meet again in a couple of weeks to review the action taken by the various ministries. Each ministry has been told clearly that they must fulfil the obligations in the Reorganisation Act.
“With regards to new capital,” Ramesh said, “The five-member committee -- multi disciplinary committee with experts from land and administration -- would be announced in a couple of days or latest by next week. The committee would look at alternatives and make appropriate recommendations to the Union government. But finally it is for the Andhra government to take a final call on the location.”
Stating that Friday’s GoM did not discuss the Polavaram Project, Ramesh refused to answer the demand made by Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader K Chandrashekar Rao that design of the project should be changed. Ramesh said that Polavaram is a national project and it is a solemn promise made by the Centre and would be executed along with proper environmental, forest and relief and rehabilitation clearances.
He added that the fact remains that the 45,000 families will have to relocated, in addition to few thousands to Chhattisgarh and Orissa.