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Telangana Bill passed by voice vote

New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI): The Lok Sabha passed the Telangana Bill late on Tuesday afternoon by voice vote behind closed doors with live television coverage blocked.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who had moved the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014, for consideration and passage in the lower House earlier in the day, said the Seemandhra coastal belt will be given a special package.

Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, will be located in what will be the landlocked state of Telangana.

The Bill had split even the ruling Congress, with its members from Andhra Pradesh battling in the lower House, but was passed by voice vote with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Shortly after voting on the amendments to the Bill began, Union Minister M Pallam Raju told reporters outside Parliament that the Bill has severe shortcomings and should not be passed in a manner that sends a wrong message and permanently hurt sentiments.

“As it is, a wrong message has gone to the Seemandhra people that the manner in which the Bill has proceeded is not proper. I hope that by passing the Bill in a din, another wrong message will not be given which will permanently hurt people's sentiment,” Raju told reporters.

The Union minister from Seemandhra region said there are concerns of the people who have settled in and around Hyderabad.

”The current provision of giving special powers to the Governor is not adequate for providing an effective security cover to people who have settled in and around Andhra and Rayalaseema,” Raju said.

”We are requesting that it should have Union Territory status and the Union Territory status can be for a limited timeframe till the alternative capital is established. That is the primary demand,” he said.

”And as far as the financial resources are concerned, we will be in a severe constrained position and that has not been addressed satisfactorily,” he added.

Asked what would be the course of action if their demands are not met, he said “We'll do our appropriate kind of protests and if necessary we will enter into the Well (of the House) if our demands are not met.”

He, however, added that the Group of Ministers (GoM) was still making efforts to bridge the difference.