As the Centre moved towards splitting Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, life in the state capital -- famed for its pearls and biryani -- moved at its usual lively pace.
For a long time, one of the country’s biggest cities with a population of about 7 million went through a lot of
uncertainty, with demands of a separate state and the accompanying political volatility hitting its economy hard.
“The uncertainty was killing industry,” said BVR Mohan Reddy, chairman of software major Infotech, implying that many companies held back expansion or investment plans.
The popular mood in Hyderabad was that Telangana or no Telangana, a decision ought to be taken to put an end to the dilemma.
But Hyderabad was the bone of contention between Telangana on the one hand and Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema on the other – with neither side willing to part with it.
And the reasons were obvious: Greater Hyderabad, encompassing the surrounding Ranga Reddy district, contributes 27% to the state’s GDP and has been transformed into a world-class city.
Some apprehend that migration of people from the two other regions, who already form about 40% of the city’s population, could decline and adversely affect the already-hit realty sector.
There were also fears about the safety of the ‘settlers’ who were accused by some pro-Telangana factions of grabbing jobs and other opportunities.
But given Hyderabad’s cosmopolitan character, even anti-statehood activists concede that the division would not discourage people from the other regions making the city their home in future.
“People want a peaceful atmosphere. If there is harmony, industry would prosper,” said GV Prasad, chairman and CEO of Dr Reddy’s Labs, who hails from Nellore in coastal Andhra.
What Hyderabad now asks for is statesmanship from the political leaders to ensure safety and stability in the state.
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