The Andhra Divide – Doubts & Fears
Why is there such hoopla over carving of a new state Telangana? What would be lost if the new state is born? Who would be the gainers and who might be the losers? These are the questions likely to emerge for us over the crisis. The problem in a nut shell is not ‘United we stand’ instead the actuality being ‘United we share’.
Yes, the epicenter of the entire problem lies in the modality of sharing the available power and natural resources among the Telangana and Seemandhra regions. The whole game is played for acquiring the best, from both the sides.
United Andhra can literally be dubbed as the rice bowl of India. About 77% of its agricultural crop is rice. The state is blessed with two big rivers Godavari and Krishna. In fact, River Krishna runs between Telangana and Seemandhra, separating them. These rivers have their origin in Telangana region. Therefore sharing the water resources is feared to become one of the major issues post separation. Already most of the Rayalaseema region depends on irrigational facilities to meet their water requirements for agriculture. Having said this one should be reminded about the irrigation projects under way in the Godavari river basin.
Besides, the dams built across the rivers house hydro-electric power projects. Hence the issue over sharing the power generated through these projects couple with water sharing issues.
There only two mega cities in Andhra, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. The later, a major port city lies in the Seemandhra region. After the split the seaway transportation and the port transactions might get affected in case if there is any discrepancy from the other side over any other issue. This would be one of the key leads for the Seemandhra side to keep the Teluangana region under check.
Sources also highlight over the issues of sharing the natural resources. Almost 45% of the forest area would be in Telangana region after the divide which would also mean the ores and mineral deposits around the geography.
The towering issue of all, the fulcrum of the agitation is on the right over Hyderabad, termed as the ‘Jewel of Andhra’. This city alone contributes about 55% of the entire GDP of the state. This is in fact identified as one of the 15 cities in Indian sub continent to contribute considerably on the national GDP. The city is one of the prominent IT hubs of the nation attracting major projects. The city makes about 43% of its earnings through the service sectors alone. During the Chief ministership of the tech savvy Chandrababu Naidu, the city morphed into a high tech city and a saw major growth.
Though the current model makes the city as the common capital for both the states for ten years, from the day the 29th state is born, after a decade the jewel would automatically go to Telangana, to adorn its crown. This is in fact the pivotal issue, the eye of the storm. Besides all these point of views discussed here, unauthenticated reports do whisper one more reason for the agitation at the higher level. The big shots from all over the state have acquired lands and properties, both leagally and anonymously, over the decades. Now if the bifurcation becomes a reality, those from the other camp would have a tough time to control and protect their wealth in Hyderabad.
In the 1980s the Telugu cinema industry shifted its base from Chennai to Hydharabad. The Telugu film clture, popularly named as ‘Tollywood’ is the third largest next to Bollywood and Kollywood (the Tamil Film industry). With the Telangana crisis gripping across state for a while already reports speculate a good 500 crore INR lay frozen, with spools sleeping in the boxes, or almost lost for the worse.
Also the Thirumala temple, the second richest pilgrimage center in India, has already reported in 30% of drop from its usual revenues entirely due to the Telangana crisis. These are of course side effects of the crisis. This is not all. If the 29th state is born, there is a long queue waiting to be addressed and have a glimpse of that below.