Parliament passes Telangana Bill
Amid ruckus, uproars and walkouts, the Upper House of the Parliament on Thursday passed the controversial Telangana Bill, paving way for the creation of the 29th Indian state with only the President now required to put his signature in the paper to make the bill a law.
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2014 to bifurcate Andhra and form a separate Telangana state was passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha.
"It's a gift to the people of Telangana. The BJP and the BSP also supported the Bill," said Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde who moved the billin the Rajya Sabha.
Once President Pranab Mukherjee signed the bill, it will be a law and the new state could be notified.
After Shinde introduced the Bill, MPs from Telangana formed a human shield around him while those against the Telangana plan rushed into the well of the house and jostled with them to prevent the tabling.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday announced a special package for Seemandhra region in the Rajya Sabha.
"First, for purposes of Central assistance, Special Category Status will be extended to the successor state of Andhra Pradesh comprising 13 districts, including the four districts of Rayalaseema and the three districts of north coastal Andhra for a period of five years," Singh said.
He said the Bill already stipulates that the Central Government shall take appropriate fiscal measures, including offer of tax incentives to the successor states in order to promote industrialization and economic growth in both the states. These incentives will be along the lines extended to some other states.
"Third, the Bill already provides for a special development package for the backward regions of the successor state of Andhra Pradesh, in particular for the districts of Rayalaseema and North Coastal Andhra Pradesh. This development package will be on the lines of the K-B-K (Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi) Special Plan in Odisha and the Bundelkhand special package in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh," the PM announced.
He also assured the MPs that if any further amendments are needed to facilitate smooth and full Rehabilitation and Resettlement(R and R) for the Polavaram project, they will be given effect to at the earliest.
Shinde said special category status to Seemandhra will be given for 5 years.
As the Bill was being debated, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), opposing the same, staged a walkout from the House.
Speaking on the Bill, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said, "We have not been able to address the concerns of the people of Seemandhara. The BJP has consistently, since its formation in 1980, supported the demand for creation of Telangana."
However, calling for amendments, he asked," Why are you creating Telangana by a legally indefensible process?"
Earlier, Samajwadi Party (SP) and CPI-M opposed the Telangana Bill in Rajya Sabha.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, however, supported the Bill and demanded a special package for Seemandhra.
"Telangana should have been created long back as it is a very old demand. Other bigger states should also have been divided. Uttar Pradesh should be divided into four new states. Vidarbha should also be created out of Maharashtra," the BSP supremo said in Rajya Sabha.
Congress MP K Chiranjeevi, who did not participate in the voting, also demanded that Hyderabad be made a Union Territory.
"Process to divide Andhra Pradesh unfortunate. Both Congress, NDA are to blame for this situation. NDA too promised Telangana earlier, but didn't keep its word. Pained to go against party stand on Telangana," he said.
Bharatiya janata Party (BJP)'s MP Venkaiah Naidu said, "We will back the Telangana Bill but we need Rs 10,000 crore financial package and tax incentives for Seemandhra in return for our support."
After the Bill was introduced, the House witnessed frequent adjournments on Thursday.
The Lower House of the Parliament passed the Telangana Bill by voice vote amid uproar on Tuesday.
Following the passage, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy on Wednesday resigned from his chair as a mark of protest.
"I'm resigning for failing to fulfill my duties," Reddy said at a press conference here.
After days of protest and uproar in the Parliament, the controversial Telangana Bill was finally passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday which will bifurcate Andhra Pradesh for the creation of a separate Telangana statehood.
With the passage of the Bill, Hyderabad will be joint capital of both the states - Telangana and Seemandhra.
The amendment to make Hyderabad, a capital of Telangana, was, however, defeated by voice vote in the Lok Sabha.
The Bill that was passed in the Lok Sabha was the one sent to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly earlier.
(Posted on 20-02-2014)