Even three years af­ter bi­fur­ca­tion, the two states re­main locked in a slugfest over as­sets

India Today - - INSIDE - By Amar­nath K. Menon

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

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