The city is all set to add another chapter to its 422-year-old history by becoming the joint capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for 10 years. Located in the heart of Telangana, the city will also serve as the capital of Andhra Pradesh, the name that the non-Telangana region called Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra) is likely to retain.
Under the formula worked out by Congress, Hyderabad will serve as joint capital for 10 years and during this period Andhra Pradesh will build its own capital. However, it was not easy for the central government to ask Seemandhra to immediately give up Hyderabad, a city in whose development over the last 56 years they claim to have played a major part.
A decision on the state’s division was delayed, as Hyderabad was the bone of contention. Since Hyderabad is historically and geographically a part of Telangana, its leaders were not ready for a state without this city, which also contributes bulk of the state’s revenues. Seemandhra leaders were demanding union territory or special status to Hyderabad to protect their interests.
The industrialists and businessmen from Andhra are estimated to have invested Rs 50,000 crore in Hyderabad. The bulk of this investment came since 1995 when the city emerged as an IT hub, triggering an infrastructure boom with unprecedented increase in real estate prices.
Hyderabad has a population of about seven million and an estimated 30 per cent of them are from Seemandhra. The Congress has promised to take care of their concerns by asking the government to take steps for the safety and security of all residents. The party also requested the government to take legal and administrative measures to ensure that both state governments can function from the common capital for 10 years.
Andhra Pradesh may not have to build separate buildings for assembly and secretariat as the existing buildings can accommodate them. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which had once given a slogan of ‘Telangana wale Jago, Andhra wale bhago’, has assured people of Seemandhra living in Hyderabad that they need not have any apprehensions.
Only 50 percent of Hyderabad’s population comprise of native residents and people from other parts of Telangana. “When people from other states and of many nationalities can come and settle here, why our Telugu-speaking brothers should have any problems?” said Deputy CM Damodar Rajanarasimha.
Seemandhra seethes with anger
Tension prevailed in Anantapur town of Rayalaseema as protestors ransacked an office of the Congress and set afire the statues of former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. One of the statues was demolished. Paramilitary force and police used force and fired teargas shells to disperse protestors who attacked government and private property and pelted stones on security personnel. Protests rocked both the regions as the shutdown called by Samaikya Andhra Joint Action Committee evoked near total response in all major towns.