New Delhi, Oct. 8: The Centre today said it had no plans to impose President’s rule in Andhra Pradesh and promised to safeguard the interests of the people from Seemandhra in Telangana.
Late this evening, the government notified the Group of Ministers on Telangana and issued its terms of reference. The group’s strength has been truncated to seven from the 10 decided by the Union cabinet.
Headed by Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, it includes defence minister A.K. Antony, finance minister P. Chidambaram, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, petroleum minister M. Veerappa Moily and rural development minister Jairam Ramesh. The minister of state for personnel and PMO, V. Narayanasamy, will be a special invitee.
The date for the first meeting of the group that will work out the bifurcation has not been fixed yet.
“There is no plan under consideration to impose President’s rule in Andhra Pradesh. There was no such discussion in today’s cabinet (meeting),” Shinde said.
Home ministry officials said the majority view was against President’s rule, which would shift the responsibility for law and order — and therefore the blame for the smallest breach — to the Centre.
“I would like to assure the people of Seemandhra that the government of India remains fully committed to addressing all their concerns, particularly with respect to safeguarding the interests of people living in Telangana, the concerns with regard to education and employment and opportunities in Hyderabad for the youth, sharing of river waters and the issue of government employees,” Shinde said.
Government sources said the Visakhapatnam steel plant worked today after a shutdown caused by the power blackout yesterday. The sources said steps had been taken to prevent a collapse of the southern power grid.
“But we realise that even if essential services are restored, any such improvement will not mean that emotions and sentiments have dampened,” conceded a senior home ministry official.
The Group of Ministers’ terms of reference include determining the boundaries of Telangana and the residuary Andhra Pradesh and considering legal and administrative measures to ensure the two state governments can function from a common capital of Hyderabad for 10 years. It will look into the measures required for Andhra’s shift to a new capital.
Sharing of power, river waters, irrigation resources and other natural resources — especially coal, oil and gas — are also part of the group’s mandate.
Following a report by the group, expected a month after the first meeting, a draft bill would be formulated and sent to the Union cabinet. It will also be sent to the President and the Assembly for comments.
The state reorganisation bill will be taken up eventually by Parliament and requires a simple majority for passage.