Srikrishna Committee lists six options on Telangana, including status quo

The Srikrishna Committee on the demand for a separate state of Telangana has placed before the Centre six possible optimal solutions which, in its view, might offer the best way forward, including the maintenance of status quo.

Justice (Retd) B.N. Srikrishna presenting the Srikrishna Committee Report on the Telangana issue to Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi on December 30, 2010
Justice (Retd) B.N. Srikrishna presenting the Srikrishna Committee Report on the Telangana issue to Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi on December 30, 2010

The Srikrishna Committee on the demand for a separate state of Telangana to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh has placed before the Centre six possible optimal solutions and options which, in its view, might offer the best way forward, including the maintenance of status quo.

The Committee, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice B N Srikrishna, said it had offered these solutions after going into all aspects of the situation as well as keeping in view the local, regional and national perspective.

The six options listed the by the Committee are:

(i) Maintain status quo

(ii) Bifurcation of the State into Seemandhra and Telangana; with Hyderabad as a Union Territory and the two states developing their own capitals in due course

(iii) Bifurcation of State into Rayala-Telangana and coastal Andhra regions with Hyderabad being an integral part of Rayala-Telangana

(iv) Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory. This Union Territory will have geographical linkage and contiguity via Nalgonda district in the south-east to district Guntur in coastal Andhra and via Mahboobnagar district in the south to Kurnool district in Rayalaseema

(v) Bifurcation of the State into Telangana and Seemandhra as per existing boundaries with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra to have a new capital

(vi) Keeping the State united by simultaneously providing certain definite Constitutional/Statutory measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region – creation of a statutorily empowered Telangana Regional Council.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram shared with each of the eight political parties recognised in Andhra Pradesh a copy of the report, that is in two volumes.

Taking note of the fact that some political parties - the Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - invited to today's meeting had chosen not to attend it, he said he deeply regretted the stand taken by them.

"It does scant justice to the valuable work done by the Justice Srikrishna Committee and the report submitted by the Committee. Nevertheless, I propose to send a copy of the report to the parties that have chosen to stay away," he said.

The report was also made available to the public and is available on the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Mr Chidambaram urged the political parties to give their most careful, thoughtful and impartial consideration to the report and the recommendations.

"In particular, I would urge you to read the report and the recommendations with an open mind and be prepared to persuade, and to be persuaded by, people who hold another point of view. It is Government’s sincere hope that the report will generate an informed and mature debate," he said.

Those who attended today's meeting inlcuded Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Mr Uttam Kumar Reddy, MLA (Congress), Mr K Sambasiva Rao (MP, Congress), Mr C. Ramachandraiah (PRP), Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi (AIMIM), Mr Syed Ahmed Pasha Quadri (GS AIMIM), Mr B.V.Raghavulu (CPI-M), Mr Julakanti Ranga, (CPI-M), Mr K. Narayana (CPI) and Mr G. Malesh (CPI).

The first such meeting was held on January 5 last year after which the Government had constituted the Srikrishna Committee with very broad terms of reference. The Committee had submitted its report to the Government on December 30, 2010.

"Our discussions on January 5, 2010 showed the way forward: fact-finding, study, analysis, options and recommendations. It is Government’s hope that our discussions today will also show the further way forward. I am sure that, besides the political parties, the people of Andhra Pradesh – both individuals and groups – would also make valuable suggestions that will show the way forward.

"You will note that I have repeatedly used the phrase ‘way forward’. I do so in order to reiterate Government’s intention to find a just, honourable and practicable solution that has the widest measure of support among all stakeholders," Mr Chidambaram said.

The Home Minister recalled that, following the meeting on January 5, 2010, the political parties had joined him in making an appeal to the people of Andhra Pradesh to maintain peace, harmony and law and order.

"That appeal had a salutary effect. It was heeded by the people of Andhra Pradesh and 2010 was a largely peaceful year. While the political parties consider the report and engage themselves in the search for a solution, it is necessary that peace, harmony and law and order should be maintained in Andhra Pradesh. I would request you to join me, at the end of this meeting, to make an appeal similar to the appeal that we made last year," he said.

Mr Chidambaram said the political parties would require some time to read the report and hold consultations with their colleagues. He, therefore, suggested that another meeting be held later this month.

The five-member Committee was announced by the Home Ministry on February 3 this year as part of the Centre's move to have wide-ranging consultations with all sections of the people and all political parties and groups in Andhra Pradeh on the emotive issue. The Committee had been asked to submit its report by December 31 this year.

Apart from Mr Justice Srikrishna, the other members of the committee were Dr Ranbir Singh, Vice-Chancellor of the National Law University, Delhi, Dr Abusaleh Shariff, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute, Delhi, Dr (Ms) Ravinder Kaur, Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, and Mr Vinod K Duggal, former Union Home Secretary, who was the Member-Secretary.

The committee was asked to examine the situation in Andhra Pradesh with reference to the demand for a separate State of Telangana as well as the demand for maintaining the present status of a united Andhra Pradesh. It was also asked to review the developments in the State since its formation and their impact on the progress and development of the different regions of the State.

Among other things, it was also asked to:

*Examine the impact of the recent developments in the State on the different sections of the people such as women, children, students, minorities, other backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

*Identify the key issues that must be addressed while considering these matters

*Consult all sections of the people, especially the political parties, on these matters and elicit their views; to seek from the political parties and other organisations a range of solutions that would resolve the present difficult situation and promote the welfare of all sections of the people; to identify the optimal solutions for this purpose; and to recommend a plan of action and a road map.

*Consult other organisations of civil society such as industry, trade, trade unions, farmers’ organisations, women’s organisations and students’ organisations on the aforesaid matters and elicit their views with specific reference to the all round development of the different regions of the State.

*Make any other suggestion or recommendation that the Committee may deem appropriate.


Minister, 4 others injured in road accident in Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh Minister for Endowments J Krishna Rao and four others were injured when a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus hit a car in which they were travelling at Machavaram in Mahabubnagar district late last night.

According to police here today, the accident occurred when the Minister was proceeding to Hyderabad from Kolhapur.

Mr Rao suffered injuries under his eye and on his head and hand. His car driver, gunman, personal assistant and personal secretary were also injured. They were rushed to SVS hospital at Mahboobnagar in a private vehicle.

After receiving first aid, the minister was rushed to Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) for further treatment. His condition is stable.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy called on the Minister at the hospital.


President Patil leaves for Delhi after winter sojourn in Hyderabad

President Pratibha Patil today left for New Delhi at the end of an eight-day winter sojourn here.

She was seen off at Begumpet airport by Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan and his wife, andChief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, among others.

During her stay here, the President had participated in the three-day International Kuchupudi Dance Convention at the G M C Balyayogi stadium on December 26.

She also opened a herbal garden in the premises of Rashtrapati Nilayam, the Presidential retreat here, on December 25, which intends to raise awareness about India's rich heritage in indigenous medicinal plants.


Congress MPs end "satyagraha" after AP govt. decides to lift cases

The Congress MPs of Telangana region today called off their fast following lifting of cases registered against students who took part in pro-Telangana agitations.

The MPs led by Congress Working Committee Member (CWC) K Keshav Rao sipped lime juice in the presence of State Home Minister P Sabita Indira Reddy and Panchayat Raj Minister K Jana Reddy, ending their fast.

The two ministers, after speaking to reporters at the secretariat, rushed to the new MLA quarters and showed the state government's press statement to the fasting MPs before they ended the "satyagraha".

Mr Reddy said the MPs were on the fast since the last two days. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which is spearheading the agitation for a separate Telangana state, also expressed its solidarity with them.

Though there was a delay in the administrative process of lifting the cases, the state government has taken a positive decision to lift the remaining cases, he said.

Mr Reddy said the Telangana ministers discussed the issue with the Chief Minister several times since yesterday and he took the final call today.

The Minister, on behalf of the Telangana people, thanked the Chief Minister for accepting the MPs' demand and appealed to them on behalf of the state government to call off the fast.


Mandhana Industries in deal with with Being Human – The Salman Khan Foundation

Priyavat Mandhana, Salman Khan and Manish Mandhana
Priyavat Mandhana, Salman Khan and Manish Mandhana

Mumbai-based textile and apparel manufacturing company Mandhana Industries Limited today said it had entered into an exclusive license agreement with Being Human – The Salman Khan Foundation for designing, marketing and distributing Being Human Clothing Products.

By virtue of this agreement, the Company shall have exclusive rights to promote and use the Being Human brand name worldwide for its clothing products for the next 9 years and 3 months with Salman Khan as the brand ambassador.

The company has agreed to pay license fees to the trust in order to use the brand name. Being Human – The Salman Khan Foundation is a charitable trust promoted by the actor.

The Trust alongside Mr. Khan has been promoting the brand Being Human across various product categories to work for the uplifting and betterment of the weaker sections of society.

The company plans to launch stand-alone stores in metros followed by 10 more stores in Tier I and Tier II cities. Thereafter they plan to target presence in multi-brand outlets and also appoint franchisees to ensure widespread promotion of the brand.

In the first phase, Mandhana will be entering into men’s casual wear segment and then follow it up with women and kids wear range, the release said.

"It’s a great privilege to be associated with Being Human – The Salman Khan Foundation. The tie-up will not only provide us an ideal platform to place ourselves into organized apparel retail sector with none other the star celebrity Salman Khan but at the same time help us contribute to a social cause by way of payment of license fees to the Trust. As a company, we are already equipped with innovative designing capabilities and also state of art textile & garment manufacturing facilities. We are confident of enhancing the brand image of Being Human and hope to scale up the activities to make it as one of the leading Indian casual wear brands," Mr Manish Mandhana, Joint Managing Director of the company, said.


Fasting Naidu shifted to ICU as his condition deteriorates

Fearing that Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President N Chandrababu Naidu, who was continuing his week-long fast in the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) here, might slip into a coma, the doctors there with the help of police shifted him to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital this evening.

As the day progressed, the condition of Mr Naidu further deteriorated, causing anxiety not only to members of his family members but also the five-member team of doctors who were attending on the former Chief Minister on the directions of the state government.

Armed with a court order, the doctors asked the police to enter the Emergency ward where Mr Naidu was continuing his fast from his bed and not taking even a morsel of food except water since the last seven days.

Amid obstruction by the TDP leaders and family members of Mr Naidu, he was shifted to the ICU where they would administer him fluids and also saline forcibly.

Mr Naidu who refused medical treatment all these days did not resist while being shifted, due to weakness.

Mr Naidu has been suffering from cardiomyopathy since birth but it had not posed a serious problem till now. But now, due to his failing health in the last few days, doctors are worried about the impact his fast could have on his heart.

Doctors in the NIMS who examined Mr Naidu earlier in the day found his blood pressure and sugar levels had fallen.

TDP leader Devender Goud told reporters at the hospital that the party would intensify its agitation on farmers' issues along with the Left parties.

Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy told journalists after an all-party meeting that Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy wold lead an all-party delegation to Delhi to apprise the Central leaders about the farmers, who had suffered on account of the recent heavy unseasonal rains.

TDP workers blocked roads at many places in the state, affecting vehicular traffic. In Guntur district, TDP activists set fire to an APSRTC bus at Gantavaripalem while seven APSRTC buses were damaged in Chittoor district as part of the agitation, reports added.


TDP's strike call over Naidu's arrest hits normal life in AP

The state-wide general strike called by the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to protest the arrest and shifting of its fasting president N Chandrababu Naidu to hospital hit normal life in Andhra Pradesh today.

Reports reaching here said TDP workers came to the streets and in several places prevented the Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) buses from plying in towns and cities.

In several places, TDP workers forced the traders to close down their shops and business establishments and the window panes of the APSRTC buses were damaged at Kacharu in Rajahmundry Rural Mandal in East Godavari district.

Similar incidents were reported in Guntur and Nalgonda districts.

Vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt at several places in the state as the TDP leaders and functionaries blocked roads.

The Left parties extended full support to the "bandh" and termed the arrest and shifting of Mr Naidu to the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) as "undemocratic".

In the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, the bandh was partial and incident-free. In some areas, shops were open and in other areas businessmen downed shutters of their establishments. Central and State Goverment offices were working as usual.

Autorickshawss and some APSRTC buses were plying and police deployed in full strength in the city to prevent any untoward incidents.

A report from Vijayawada said the bandh call evoked good response as all commercial establishments and educational institutions remained closed and protests organised in front of APSRTC Bus Complexes in Krishna, Guntur and West Godavari Districts. Cinemas cancelled noon shows.

Police arrested the agitating TDP activists, including MLA D Umameshwara Rao and M Babu.

TDP activists at Machavaram in the heart of the city, where several colleges were located, obstructed college buses and forced the managements to declare a holiday.

The TDP activists organised road blockades at several places, including at Gollapudi, Kanchakacharla, Nandigama, Jagaiahpet on the busy Machilipatnam-Pune highway and several places on the Chennai-Kolkata highway, resulting in hundreds of vehicles stranded on either side of the roads.

In Guntur, the TDP activists went on the rampage pelting stones on RTC buses, smashing the wind screens of several of them. All the commercial establishments and educational institutions in the city remained closed. The Acharya Nagarjuna University cancelled engineering and post-graduate semester examinations in view of the bandh.

In West Godavari district, TDP activists staged a "dharna" in front of the RTC Bus Complexes at Eluru, Kovvuru and Jangareddy Gudem, obstructing the services.


No politics in Naidu's arrest: AP Home Minister

Andhra Pradesh Home Minister P Sabita Indira Reddy clarified that there was no politics or revenge in the arrest and shifting of fasting Telugu Desam President (TDP) President N Chandrababu Naidu to the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) early today.

Addressing a press conference here, Ms Reddy said that ever since Mr Naidu began his fast three days ago, doctors were monitoring his health.

The government doctors and his personal doctors who had examined Mr Naidu stated at 1930 hours last night that his condition had turned criticial. "As responsibility lies on the government on his falling health, the state government shifted him to hospital," she said.

The Home Minister said the police officers and a team of doctors requested Mr Naidu four to five times before his arrest to go to the hospital and cooperate with them. As Mr Naidu refused to do so, he was arrested and shifted to hospital, she said.

About Mr Naidu falling from the stretcher in the hospital, Ms Reddy said that the Government would take action if there were any mistakes by the police personnel in handling him.

The Home Minister said the police was not involved in the decision to shift Mr Naidu to hospital, which was taken by the State government.


Fasting Chandrababu Naidu forcibly shifted to hospital in Hyderabad

Amidst high drama and chaos, former Andhra Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President N Chandrababu Naidu, who is on an indefinite fast for the last three days, was arrested and shifted to the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), early today.

A large posse of police personnel descended at the new MLA quarters, where Mr Naidu had been on fast demanding better package to the farmers who lost their crops in recent rains, and forcibly shifted him to the NIMS.

The police personnel, who came around midnight, repeatedly appealed to Mr Naidu to call off the fast.

As Mr Naidu did not relent, a large number of TDP supporters threw a security cordon arund him and tried to prevent the police from shifting him.

Amid high drama and jostling, the police lifted Mr Naidu and shifted him to the NIMS. Mr Naidu's son Lokesh suffered minor injuries in the melee.

Condemning the "cowardly" act by the police, Mr Naidu said he would continue the fast in the hospital till the government conceded his demand and announced an input subsidy of Rs 10,000 per acre for food crops damaged in rains.

Tension prevailed at the venue when the police swooped on to the dias where Mr Naidu was sitting on his fast.

As Mr Naidu did not budge, police arrested the TDP workers who came in their way and bundled them into waiting police vans.

The state government had last night directed the police to shift Mr Naidu to hospital as his health condition deteriorating.

TDP leaders and workers strongly condemned the state government's action when their leader was holding fast peacefully.

"It looks like emergency period as the police dubiously acted against Mr Naidu," a TDP leader said, adding Mr Naidu's son has suffered injuries on his head and right hand.

Police have registered cases against Mr Naidu and his supporters.

TDP legislator Nagam Janardhan Reddy told mediapersons that police had acted in an "inhuman" way as they manhandled the legislators who prevented them from arresting Mr Naidu.

Reports said Mr Naidu was refusing to take intravenous fluids in the emergency ward in the hospital.

In protest against the arrests of its workers and the shifting of Mr Naidu to hospital, the TDP has called for a state-wide "bandh" (general strike) today.


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