Official amendments to Telangana Bill moved by the government Tuesday attempted to address concerns of Seemandhra region by committing the Central government to provide an unspecified quantum of “special development package” and safeguard existing and ongoing irrigation projects, besides a slew of higher education institutions in Seemandhra.
Amendment 17 moved by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde binds the Centre to give a “special development package” through central “grants” and “incentives” for Seemandhra region in particular, Rayalseema and north coastal regions. The amendments do not fix a floor level of grants for Seemandhra.
Given Seemandhra has special concern over river water sharing and its impact on irrigation projects, amendment 23 says “the consent for Polavaram Irrigation Project shall be deemed to have been given by the successor state of Telangana” with compulsion on the Centre to “obtain all requisite clearances” for the project.
Amendment 36 restrains both successor states from squabbling over six irrigation projects — Handri Niva, Telugu Ganga, Galeru Nagiri, Venegondu, Kalvakurthi and Nettempadu — with a condition that these projects under construction “shall be completed as per plan notified by the existing State of Andhra Pradesh”.
Apart from an IIT, an NIT, an IIM, an IISER, a Central University and an IIIT, the amendments provided “a Petroleum University” as well to Seemandhra along with a National Institute of Disaster Management. As for infrastructure, the amendments specified “six months” for PSUs to provide feasibility of infrastructure projects assigned to them with the addition of “establishing an integrated steel plant in YSR (Kadapa) District” and exploring “Metro Rail facility in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali Metropolitan Urban Development Authority” within a year.
However, none of 38 amendments sought to alter the Governor’s independent responsibility over common capital Hyderabad, which the BJP claimed required a Constitution Amendment. BJP is likely to move an amendment to this effect in the Rajya Sabha.
The Lok Sabha rejected five amendments moved by TMC member Saugata Roy and 19 moved by AIMIM member Asaduddin Owaisi. Hyderabad MP Owaisi’s amendments sought to reject the common Governor and sought to restrict Hyderabad as joint capital to two years.