Douse this fire now

Unless the government takes measures to tackle the Telangana problem, its list of worries will only get longer.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2013 22:45 IST
Hindustan Times

There seem to be too many troublesome balls up in the air for the UPA to juggle. Even as it is dealing with the uproar over the alleged changes made to the CBI report in the coal scam, Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh seem to have entered Parliament’s premises and raised a shindig about the Telangana issue for which they have now been arrested.

This is one issue on which the government has been dragging its feet, something which has proved utterly counterproductive.

It was in the December of 2012 that home minister Sushilkumar Shinde promised a solution within a month. Nothing happened. Then he said, “The issue is open. The issue is open because we have to do this way or that way.”

This is delightfully vague suggesting only that the issue has been put off for another day. Telangana supporters have been creating chaos and confusion in the state owing to which normal life often comes to a standstill. This has been disastrous for business and for students, many of whom have lost valuable college time.

The much-touted reputation of Hyderabad as an IT hub lies in tatters with companies preferring to move to less turbulent states. There are hints that the Congress is looking for a deal with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which has been spearheading the agitation, but it would do well to remember that such a move could cost Andhra dearly as there is bound to be considerable unrest if it is seen that the cause has been sacrificed to political expediency.

TRS chief Chandrasekhar Rao is not known to be a reliable ally and any agreement with him will not benefit the Congress much.

The best bet would be to go back to the Justice BN Srikrishna Committee report, which proffered a number of solutions to the demand for a separate Telangana.

One was to bifurcate the state into Seemandhra and Telangana with Hyderabad getting Union Territory status. The other was to give the Telangana region greater autonomy through a regional council.

This could have been a first step to calm tempers and then begin working on a long-term solution. But as of now, the UPA government seems inclined to defer a decision. The government cannot afford to keep this particular ball up in the air.

It is bound to drop soon and will create a whole new set of the problems that the government can do without.

First Published: Apr 30, 2013 22:44 IST