The latest addition to the drama is the separation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh. It all began in 1953, when the government decided to separate the Telugu speaking population from the Madras Presidency. Subsequently, Andhra Pradesh was formed in 1956. Even then the Andhra and Telangana regions had issues; to reach a consensus, a gentleman’s agreement was entered to protect the interests of people in Telangana. But, soon the agreement was forgotten, and the differences in opinion began to simmer, resulting in a demand for a separate Telangana.
At the heart of the heart-burn is the sole focus on Hyderabad, rather than the whole state, for development. The frustration of the local residents, combined with political interest led to the formation of the Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS). The idea was to develop the region to the scale of Hyderabad. Despite the formation of committees, no major development has taken place. For proof turn to the fact that in Telangana, Warangal alone can be compared to Hyderabad. This reflects the horror of the reality of the lack of development over the last 12 years, since the formation of TRS.
The tragedy is that the separation is politically inclined rather than public interest. The development of Telangana is very much possible in several other ways. It is definitely possible without creating a separate state and then working for its prosperity. The inhabitants will end up paying heavily through division of land. The issues include:
1. Sharing of water – Andhra has three major rivers namely Krishna, Godavari and Pennar. They flow from Telangana. Adequate number of reservoirs should ideally be maintained in Telangana for storage. The water is supposed to be allocated between regions depending on the land available for irrigation. Though Telangana has 70 per cent of the land suitable for irrigation, these water resources were diverted to southern Andhra Pradesh. Thus, fertility in Andhra grew while Telangana suffered. Fertile land in Telangana was converted into commercial land. Now it is impossible to retrieve the quality of land in Telangana.
2. Agriculture – The cultivation of food grains is majorly done in the fertile Andhra region. The partition would mean that people in Telangana will have to purchase fresh produce from Andhra Pradesh. There is a possibility that after the political divide, the vendors from Seemandhra region would sell fresh produce at exorbitant rates to take advantage of the situation. With prices soaring every single day, the common man is already finding it tough to make ends meet. The underdevelopment of agriculture in Telangana is only set to worsen the issue.
3. Real estate – Land rates are expected to plunge in Telangana. On the other hand real estate business in Andhra Pradesh is expected to boom. Hyderabad would probably be the only city that would really benefit from real estate boom.
4. Technology – The divide will have adverse effects on Telangana. Most of the employees in software, service sector, manufacturing, automobiles, agri-based business and other professionals in Hyderabad are from Andhra Pradesh. This might result in the workforce moving out of Hyderabad, into Andhra Pradesh. If this happens it is likely that global investors might withdraw investments from Hyderabad.
Creating new government is like stepping back and then moving forward, which takes generations to regain stability and growth. It is obvious that Telangana urgently needs focus on education, medicine, infrastructure, and importantly a competent leader to take the state forward. Otherwise the future generation will be the ultimate losers.
Andhra Pradesh’s partition looks like an electoral gimmick. Dividing states and gaining false confidence of the people could work in the short term. Unfortunately, if the partition does not bear fruits over the long run, the intention of politics will soon be overrun by public frustration. Ultimately, the whole purpose will stand defeated, and hopefully, the attitude of people will change from “my state, my language” to “my country”.