Hyderabad holds the key to Telangana dispute
Telangana protagonists may claim Hyderabad as an integral part of their region but the statehood demand does not arouse the 'same intensity of emotions' among the residents of the metropolis unlike people in other areas in the region.
The Justice Srikrishna Committee, which dwelled into the demands for a separate Telangana state as well as keeping Andhra Pradesh united, also says that carving out Telangana may present a very 'different and unique case' as the bone of contention here is Hyderabad, the bustling IT hub.
The issue of Hyderabad has been central to the demand for bifurcation of the state with pro-Telangana activists saying the city is 'part and parcel' of a separate Telangana, while people from the other two regions contend that they have also contributed to the development of the city.
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Hyderabad has a distinct identity
The report notes while Hyderabad forms a 'geographical component' of Telangana region, it has been the capital of Andhra Pradesh since 1956 and all the three regions -- Coastal Andhra, Telangana and Rayalaseema -- contributed to its development.
"A major issue in the present conflict is how the three regions would protect their rights in and access to Hyderabad," the 461-page report says.
Though historically and geographically part of Telangana, the cultural and demographic composition of Hyderabad with a very substantial Muslim population and migrants from across the country make the city quite distinct from the other three regions of the state.
'Migrants have contributed substantially to growth'
"The demand for Telangana does not arouse the same intensity of emotions among the residents of the city; yet it cannot escape the tremors of separatist agitations," the report says. The fate of Hyderabad itself is of 'central concern' to the bifurcation issue as Osmana University remains the hub of student agitation, it notes.
The immigration from within and outside the state indicates that the present character of Hyderabad is quite different from that inherited from the Nizam period or what it was even three decades ago.
"Migrants from the three regions, especially from coastal Andhra, have contributed substantially to the economic growth of the city and continue to hold a stake in important businesses," the report points out.
'There should be no de-stabilisation of Hyderabad'
Majority of the business houses and real estate businesses in the city are owned by barons from coastal Andhra region. The city's main political party AIMIM, the report says, strongly advocates the cause of united Andhra Pradesh, underlining that it is in the best interest of not only the state's economic growth, but also the well-being of the minority Muslim community.
The report notes that people from the three regions have developed strong material and emotional attachment to the metropolis and fear loss of access in case of changes in the state's contours.
"Keeping the above factors in mind, it is imperative to ensure that there is no de-stabilisation of the economy of Hyderabad, flight of capital or erosion of business confidence and all stakeholders continue to have safe access to the city," the report says in its analysis.
'Hyderabad cannot afford continued climate of uncertainty'
It would be in the interest of all regions if the economy of Hyderabad, which is a growth engine for the state and the national economy, continues to grow rapidly as only economic growth can create an expansion of employment opportunities.
The current economic inter-linkages of Hyderabad with all regions need to be fostered and further developed, especially in the context of Hyderabad now having become a hub of the new economy with an international brand image and interface.
"To grow, it cannot afford a continued climate of uncertainty. Its future now is vitally dependent on the ability of decision-makers to work out arrangements for effective and transparent governance for its all round growth and development," the report says.
Image: Protests at Osmania University