Agencies, New Delhi
The Union Cabinet today cleared the contentious Draft Bill for creation of a separate state of Telangana by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh but said Hyderabad will not have the Union Territory (UT) status. The Bill that paralysed Parliament ever since it met for an extended session on February 5 and was rejected by the Andhra Pradesh assembly last week, will now be sent to the President for his nod. Hyderabad will be a joint capital for 10 years after which it will go to Telangana.
The Bill for Telangana, India’s 29th state, is expected to be presented in Parliament on Monday.
The UPA government is determined to push the legislation through before this extended session of Parliament ends on February 21. Members of Parliament from Seemandhra in both Houses have protested against the government’s decision and have been stalling the proceedings most of the time leading to the adjournment of the House.
The Cabinet rejected Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy’s demand to make Hyderabad a union territory with its revenues divided between Telangana and Seemandhra. It, however, agreed to grant special financial package to backward areas in Seemandhra.
The Chief Minister, who has openly opposed the creation of Telangana, had also urged President Pranab Mukherjee to ‘’use his powers’’ to stop the bifurcation of the state. He has also vowed to strongly oppose the decision at all costs saying it went against the interests of Andhra Pradesh.
The Group of Ministers (GoM) which met yesterday and today to discuss the issue, considered changes to the Bill including making Hyderabad UT for a specific period of time. The Union Cabinet had met yesterday also but could not discuss the issue as the GoM wanted to make some changes in the Draft Bill. Union ministers from the Seemandhra region had met the GoM on Wednesday and given their suggestions.