TELANGANA &AP: SPLIT STILL WIDE OPEN
Even three years after bifurcation, the two states remain locked in a slugfest over assets
K. Chandrasekhara Rao and N. Chandrababu Naidu don’t see eye to eye on many issues, but the disagreement is fierce on the apportioning of assets, debts and liabilities between their respective states, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, states that three years after its implementation, that is, after June 2 this year, the Centre can adjudicate on the unresolved issues. But it’s not going to be easy.
A Union home ministry directive on April 18 stated that of the assets of 142 common institutions under Schedule X of the Act, only cash can be shared while other assets accrue as per their location. Much of the assets are in Hyderabad and so will go to Telangana.
Naidu insists the directive is in breach of a Supreme Court order. The court had, on March 18 last year, ordered a populationbased division of assets—58.3 per cent to Andhra Pradesh and the remainder 41.7 per cent to Telangana. The court said that with the two states failing to strike an agreement, the Centre should set up a committee for the purpose, as per the Reorganisation Act. “We are appealing to the Centre to reconsider the issue,” says AP information and public relations minister Kalava Srinivasulu, adding that the state would not hesitate to move the Supreme Court against the Union home ministry’s directive.
Unofficial estimates peg AP’s losses in movable and immovable assets at Rs 40,000 crore if the Supreme Court’s directive is ignored. So, while Naidu is claiming a 58 per cent share of all Schedule X assets—such as the AP State Council of Higher Education, AP Police Academy, AP Forest Academy, Environment Protection Training and Research Institute, AP State Remote Sensing Applications Centre and Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University—Telangana has launched a campaign to take over these institutions. “The bifurcation will remain incomplete without the division of the high court. It has not begun,” says Rao.
The states haven’t yet sorted out apportioning of the Rs 34,000 crore collective debt—largely book entries. The first interstate meeting to discuss debt was held in Amravati on May 31. In just one of many such disputes, Telangana claimed AP owes it Rs 3,000 crore
as its share of centrally-sponsored, externally-aided and other projects; AP argued the projects pertained to the “Telangana area in the combined state”.
The division of 89 Schedule IX institutions, mostly state-owned corporations, by a committee set up before the bifurcation in 2014, is still hanging fire as it was initially focused only on funds and facilities, not employees. When Telangana unilaterally relieved 1,253 employees of power utilities as they were natives of AP, the Centre intervened to hasten the committee’s pace of work. Despite this, recommendations have been made so far on only 34 of the 89 institutions.
Water disputes, too, linger. Both states depleted the Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar reservoirs on the Krishna river to the bare minimum. Although Telangana contended Andhra had drawn more than its share, the Krishna River Management Board concluded it was the opposite. Sharing of power generation assets is about the only thing Rao and Naidu have resolved amicably while wrangling over electricity bills.
AGREEING TO DISAGREE Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhara Rao with AP’s Chandrababu Naidu