Why blame UPA for bifurcation blues

  • Narendra Modi has been around for 8 months
  • What is NDA doing to resolve the problems?
  • Why Centre cannot broker peace between TS, AP

(Sanjaya)

Hyderabad, January 18: Who is to be blamed for the bifurcation blues that are causing any number of problems for the new states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana? Is it fair to blame only the Congress party which was at the helm of the UPA-II government for the lacunae in the Andhra Pradesh Bifurcation Act 2014?

Every party, including the Congress, accepts that there are some problems which have to be resolved between the two states. Given the antagonistic approach of the two chief ministers and their own political compulsion to divert the attention of the people from real problems to the problems caused due to irreconcilable attitudes of the two leaders, there have been a number of issues confronting the people in both the states.

The decision to distribute the Indian Administrative Services officers between the two states, which is done under the watch of the Union government, has been unduly delayed affecting the quality of administration and governance in both Telangana State (TS) and Andhra Pradesh (AP).

Officers who are presently working for the TS are under transfer to AP or have made requests to be shifted to AP.  Same is the case with some of the officers working in AP. There has been all these months a sense of uncertainty and tentative mindset among the top bureaucrats detracting them from their concentration. The sooner the division is completed, which is mercifully at the fag end of the exercise, the better it would be for the people of the two states.

The question of EAMCET examinations and the responsibility or authority to hold the examinations in the two states has been a bone of contention. The AP Bifurcation Act 2014 says the examinations have to be conducted jointly for ten years. AP government claims it is its right to conduct the exam while the TS government it cannot allow the continued domination of AP in this aspect. TS has made it clear that he would go by his own timetable. AP is equally stubborn. The education ministers of TS and AP, Jagadeshwar Reddy and Srinivasa Rao had a couple of meetings in the presence of Governor ESL Narasimham but the matter remained unresolved. The directors of boards of higher education in TS and AP have been issuing statements contradicting and criticizing each other. Everyday the newspapers and news channels bring the news of the ding-dong game between the two to the people who feel harassed by the unsavory governments.

The power sharing also has been hanging fire. The AP government has asked the PPPs (Private Power Producers)to enter into fresh PPAs(Power Purchase Agreements) denying TS its share of power produced by the plants in AP. TS had leveled charges against AP in this regard threatening to go to court. While the AP government has taken steps to mobilize power in the months ahead, the TS government was not able to mop up power from the PPPs under the Southern Grid.

Sharing of Krishna waters is another contentious problem for which no solution was given in the Bifurcation Act. Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar projects on River Krishna were built on the borders of the two states between Kurnool and Mahabubnagar and between Nalgonda and Guntur. The Krishna Tribunal Award is interpreted by the governments in different ways as it suits them and the political discourse on this account lacks reason, rhyme or decency. Production of electricity on the left bank of Srisailam project by TS government was disputed by the AP government which insisted that a minimum level of water (854 ft) has to be maintained come what may. The TS government on its part maintains that electricity has to produced the growing needs of the power-starved state.

Division of the RTC is yet another issue refusing to get resolved. TS ministers allege that the AP government is creating hurdles in the way of division of the transport corporation.

It is now a matter of history that the AP Bifurcation Bill 2014 was passed by parliament without adequate debate. In Rajya Sabha there was no debate at all but for a few clarifications given by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the insistence of Venkaiah Naidu of the BJP. But who was responsible for the ruckus. The TDP MPs and the Congress MPs from both the regions were holding placards and shouting slogans. No discussion was possible.

It is alright to accuse the UPA-II government for bringing up an important Bill in a hurry at the eleventh hour of the parliament a few months before the general elections. Had the TDP and the BJP and also the Congress MPs from both parts of the state cooperated with the Centre, debate would have taken place and most of the problems could have been prevented. In the blame game of electoral politics every party tried to ditch the other party in order to score brownie points and gain electoral advantage. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had realized this game of one-upmanship and went ahead with single-minded devotion at the fag end of the term more to honour her promise than to gain electoral advantage for by then it was crystal clear for everybody that the Congress stands no chance of getting elected for the third term in Delhi. Even in Telangana, the Congress leaders were so divided and demotivated that they could not take advantage of the decision taken by their party to split the state. It paid heavily in AP where it will take at least ten years to recover, if at all.

Leave the Congress alone for it paid the heaviest penalty and went into the dustbin. But what about the NDA government under the dynamic leadership of Narendra Modi. Why could it not resolve the problems? Why did it take more than eight months to distribute the IAS and IPS officers among the two states? Why it did not take any initiative to counsel both TS and AP government to act in unison to take the interests of the people forward? It remained mostly a mute spectator. Even the promises made by the outgoing government at the instance of the BJP have not been implemented. What about the special status for AP? What happened to the funds to build new capital? Why did AP Chief Minister Naidu have to go to Delhi to beg for assistance since he was not in a position to pay salary to the government employees? Modi government has been around for quite some time and it had to teething problem since the transition was smooth unlike in AP and TS which had to suffer the bifurcation blues. The TDP and the BJP leaders would do well to stop blaming the previous government which had slipped into history and try to do something to help the new states to get on with the administration. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Uraban Development, said a number of times that the AP Bifurcation Act 2014 has to be amended. Who is preventing the NDA government from doing it? Why is the Centre so indifferent when the Telugu people are facing burning problems some of which are their own making.

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