At a time when the clamour for a separate state has been increasing in the Telangana region, the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, has suggested that granting a Special Administrative Status (SAS) to Hyderabad and four other metro cities in India may perhaps help address various problems of governance.
“We are not suggesting a Union Territory status. That takes finances of other regions and there are a lot of other issues as well. However, Hyderabad can show the way to other cities on this matter,” said K Sivaramakrishnan, chairman of CPR, at a seminar on ‘Special Administrative Status for Hyderabad and Other Metro Regions’ held at the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS) here on Saturday.
The seminar was the result of a study titled ‘Governance of India’s Megacities’, which was funded by the Union ministry of urban development which focused on metropolitan-level problems and other issues in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
The CPR chairman, along with senior fellow Partha Mukhopadhyay, presented a report on the topic, explaining the merits and demerits of the situation. Asked if the suggestion of SAS came about due to the demand for a separate state of Telangana, Sivaramakrishnan replied in the negative, and said, “This case has its own merits and will give a chance to assess the functioning of the muncipal bodies in the region.”
Even if Telangana is carved out, he said, it would only help in revisiting the bodies like the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA), Greater Hyderabad Muncipal Corporation (GHMC), and others.
Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) chairman M Kodandaram pointed out that metropolitan development of a region was not the natural course. Giving an example, he said, “The 150 councilors of GHMC are largely inaccessible, because of which some parts of Hyderabad are deliberately left out. Although it is not yet visible, the city has become a major source of tension.”
Delegates at the seminar also mentioned about the jurisdictional issues between the GHMC and HMDA in the city on various issues.
“We are not suggesting that there is a model to change or bring in a new municipal governance, but that it will emerge from debate,” said Sivaramakrishnan. Mukhopadhyay added that both the Telangana statehood issue and the move to grant Hyderabad a special status were two different things but seemed like they were related due to the current scenario.
However, Chiranjeevi Kolluri, co-convener of the 1969 Telangana Movement Founders Forum, said there could be an ulterior motive behind the topic. “Why now when the demand for Telangana is growing? This can be taken up later also,” he said.
Members of CPR, however, maintained that the issue was only about improving municipal governance in the five major cities.