The Union Cabinet has fine-tuned some key amendments proposed to the Telangana bill much to the chagrin of Union Ministers from Seemandhra. According to sources, retracting its earlier decision to merge seven mandals of Khammam district in Telangana with the residuary state of AP in order to facilitate smooth completion of Polavaram project, the Cabinet decided to transfer only 134 villages from these mandals to Seemandhra. It means all other villages in the seven mandals will be retained in Telangana.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence in New Delhi on Wednesday evening. The decision, obviously taken following an uproar from Telangana votaries to the earlier move, was vehemently opposed by Union Textiles Minister Kavuri Sambasiva Rao. He is also understood to have submitted a letter of dissent to the Prime Minister listing his objections to the Telangana bill and alleging that it completely ignores the concerns of Seemandhra in its present form.
The specially convened meeting of the Union Cabinet also reportedly approved another amendment to the bill, clearing the way for making the present Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly the Speaker of the Telangana Assembly. It also gave its nod to make the present Deputy Chairman of the AP Legislative Council the Chairman of the Council of the Telangana State.
According to sources, the Union Cabinet further discussed amendments suggested by the BJP to pacify Seemandhra leaders such as announcing a specific financial package but decided to take a final call in the Lok Sabha.