New Delhi, Aug. 12: Finance minister P. Chidambaram today said the government had initiated the process of carving out a Telangana state but refused to give a “date” on which the division of Andhra Pradesh would be formalised.
“I cannot give a date,” he told the Rajya Sabha.
The minister said the formation of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand was announced on May 25, 1998. “The process was completed in about two years. All that has happened here is that we have initiated a process.”
Chidambaram, who was replying to a debate on Telangana, was standing in for home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde who is unwell. The minister said the process of drafting a cabinet note, which would address all issues such as sharing of revenue and infrastructure, could take long.
While calling Hyderabad a “vexed” issue, he did not clarify whether the Andhra capital would be declared a Union territory. On July 30, the Congress had said Hyderabad would be shared for 10 years as a joint capital till post-bifurcation Andhra developed its own. Chidambaram said that was the Congress’s view and the government would take into account the opinions of other parties, too.
During the discussions that went on till 7:30pm, parties had wanted to know the deadline for the formation of a Telangana state. They said the Andhra government had gone into a “mute mode” leading to an administrative paralysis.
“I was born in Hyderabad and I do business in Hyderabad. Now Telangana ministers are asking us to vacate Hyderabad, where are we supposed to go? With every passing day, the situation is deteriorating and the uncertainties for the rest of Andhra is growing,” Telugu Desam MP C.M. Ramesh said.
“There is no clear statement about Hyderabad. Going by the Congress resolution, both states will have equal rights. But that is not possible till Hyderabad is declared a Union territory,” Desam MP Y.S. Chowdary said.
Chidambaram hit out at those accusing the government of trying to score political points by taking a hurried decision. “We shall be damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” he said.