10 years on, bifurcation issues between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh remain unresolved

Many of these issues, outlined in the AP Reorganisation Act of 2014 (APRA-2014), persist due to ongoing court cases.
Chief MinisterA  Revanth Reddy and Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka call on Governor CP Radhakrishnan at the Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad
Chief MinisterA Revanth Reddy and Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka call on Governor CP Radhakrishnan at the Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad Photo | Express

On June 2, 2024, it would be 10 years since the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. However, several critical issues related to various corporations and common institutions between residuary Andhra Pradesh and the new state of Telangana remain unresolved. Many of these issues, outlined in the AP Reorganisation Act of 2014 (APRA-2014), persist due to ongoing court cases. This includes the division of assets and the fulfilment of promises such as the establishment of a thermal power plant, a tribal university, and the sharing of river waters. Telangana has not received funds under the Backward Region Grant Fund. Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy is expected to address these pending issues with officials after the Lok Sabha election code is lifted, writes VV Balakrishna

Chief MinisterA  Revanth Reddy and Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka call on Governor CP Radhakrishnan at the Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad
Bifurcation blues: 10 years later, several issues remain unresolved between Andhra, Telangana

The APRA-2014 includes 12 parts and 13 Schedules with 108 Sections detailing the reorganisation of undivided Andhra Pradesh. Here is an overview of the pending issues

IX SCHEDULE

There were initially 89 institutions listed under Schedule IX of APRA-2014. Subsequently, two more — AP Vaddera Cooperative Societies Federation Ltd and AP State Cooperative Rural Irrigation Corporation — were added, taking the total to 91.

An expert committee chaired by Dr Sheela Bhide was constituted by the then AP government to make recommendations on the bifurcation of assets and liabilities of Schedule-IX institutions. Later, division of employees was also entrusted to the committee.

The Sheela Bhide panel gave its recommendations in respect of 90 companies / corporations except the Andhra Pradesh State Finance Corporation (APSFC).

The demerger plan of APSFC was directly sent to the Ministry of Finance, Departmental of Financial Services on January 29, 2016.

The Ministry of Home Affairs constituted a dispute resolution committee to resolve the disputes between AP and Telangana. The committee held 31 meetings after which it suggested the division of Schedule IX institutions in three phases.

In the first phase, 53 PSUs, where there is no difference of opinion between the two states, shall be resolved. Later, 15 PSUs, which are agreeable to Telangana but not to Andhra Pradesh shall be resolved. In the final phase, 22 institutions which are not agreeable to Telangana shall be taken up.

However, the AP government insisted on the settlement of all the Schedule IX institutions in one go. The AP government moved court, while Telangana wanted to go by the definition of headquarters given by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Telangana contended that the Sheela Bhide committee took a different stand.

Pending court cases

AP Dairy Development Coop Federation Limited

The APDDCF has filed a case against the TSDDCF which then filed a counter affidavit. The assets and liabilities in relation to the administrative office of erstwhile APDDCF shall be divided as per Section 53 (1) (b) of the Act in the ratio 58.32:41.68. The guesthouse at Somajiguda in Hyderabad shall be apportioned as per the population ratio.

The milk products factory at Lalapet, Hyderabad cannot be said to be a common facility as its operations are confined to the territory state of Telangana only.

During 2007, in undivided Andhra Pradesh, certain lands located in Medak, Nalgonda and Mahbubnagar districts to an extent of 4,999.14 acres were alienated to M/s Deccan Infrastructure and Land Holdings Ltd (DILL). After bifurcation, the Chief Commissioner of Land Administration brought to the notice of the government of Telangana that DILL did not utilise these lands. The CCLA recommended resuming the said lands from DILL.

The Telangana government resumed the lands alienated to DILL in 2015, following which the AP unit of DILL moved court challenging the decision.

Andhra Pradesh State Financial Corporation

APSFC is listed under Schedule IX of the APRA-2014. Telangana wanted an allotment of 271.39 acres of land in Gajularamaram and building to the extent of 6,219 sq yds located at Nanakramguda Financial District, Rangareddy to be allotted based on location in terms of Section 53 of the APR Act, 2014. However, the expert committee did not take any decision on the demerger of APSFC. Both states filed cases in court.

AP Mineral Development Corporation Ltd

The headquarters of APMDC was located in a rented building in Khairatabad. There is dispute on demerger proposal of APMDC for apportionment of the 12,602 sq ft building located in Pancom Business Centre, Ameerpet even though it is not the head office. n The expert committee has recommended apportionment of the said building against the request of Telangana between AP and Telangana, though it does not form part of head office. Telangana has not accepted the recommendations of the expert committee whereas AP has approved the demerger plan.

Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation

If all the issues are settled at the state level, TS Power utilities have to get around Rs 17,828 crore from AP Power utilities, says Telangana. APGENCO has filed a case in the TElangana High Court to direct the state to make a payment of Rs 6,283.68 crore. Telangana filed a counter affidavit explaining that AP Power utilities have to pay Rs 17,828.00 crore to Telangana Power Utilities. However, APGENCO withdrew the WP in June, 2022.

Since AP Power Utilities are not willing to settle all the issues, TS Genco and TS Discoms filed writ petitions in the Telangana High Court to settle the dues.

Meanwhile, AP power utilities claimed Rs 6,756 crore from Telangana towards power purchase dues. The claims and counterclaims of both states were brought to the notice of the MHA and discussed in the meetings of the Dispute Resolution Committees but no final decision could be arrived at.

Government of Telangana has taken a stand that unless court cases are withdrawn, further progress on bifurcation of Schedule IX institutions cannot be made.

The issue of bifurcation of Schedule IX institutions is pending because of the above reasons.

Schedule X institutions

There are 142 institutions listed under Schedule X of the APRA-2014, which are covered by Section 75 of the Act.

Of these 142 institutions, 122 institutions are exclusively located in Telangana, 16 are located in Andhra Pradesh and four with service centres located in Telangana will devolve to Telangana and those with service centres located in Andhra Pradesh will devolve to AP.

As the provisions of the Act do not provide any apportionment of assets of Schedule X institutions, the AP government has claimed that the assets and liabilities of these institutions should be divided as per the population ratio. It says that pending such division, the institutions shall be managed jointly. The Telangana government has been consistent that assets of Schedule X institutions are not apportionable and should devolve to the state on the basis of location.

 The AP government and APSCHE have filed SLPs which were later converted into Civil Appeals before the Supreme Court. However, the SLP was withdrawn in April, 2022 and a Review Petition has been filed in the Telangana High Court. The MHA obtained the views of both the states in a meeting in September 2022. The matter is under consideration with the MHA.

Measures of progress of development

Establishment of Tribal University

The establishment of Tribal University in Telangana is listed under Schedule XIII, Item 3 under Education. In this direction the Union government recently passed a Bill for the establishment of a tribal university known as Sammakka Sarakka Central Tribal University in Telangana with a budgetary provision of Rs 889.07 crore for seven years in two phases. Telangana requested immediate release of the funds so that the university can commence admissions from academic year 2024.

Establishment of an integrated steel plant in Khammam district

As per Section 93 of the APRA-2014, the Government of India has to take necessary steps to set up an integrated steel plant at Bayyaram in Khammam district of Telangana. An investigation into the iron ore availability at Bayyaram was conducted by the agencies of the Government of India. However, the decision to set up of the steel plant remains pending. Several representations have already been made by Telangana during the past seven years to expedite the decision.

Establishment of 4000 MW power facility in Telangana through NTPC

Schedule XIII of AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 mandated the NTPC to establish a 4,000 MW power facility in Telangana after establishing necessary coal linkage. NTPC has taken up this power project in two phases. The 1,600 MW project was taken up as Phase-I and 2,400 MW under Phase-II. The construction work of Phase-I was commenced to establish 2X800 MW (1600 MW) and Unit-1 of this plant for 800 MW was to be commissioned on March 24. However, the state government refused to sign a PPA with NTPC for the second phase.

Road connectivity in backward regions

As per the provisions under Infrastructure in Schedule XIII of the APRA-2014 says that the NHAI shall take necessary steps to improve road connectivity in the backward regions of Telangana. Five districts — Jogulamba-Gadwal, Narayanpet, Peddapalli, Vikarabad and Wanaparthy are not connected to the National Highways network. Hence, proposals for these five district headquarters towns with National Highways were submitted to the Centre.

Development grant for backward districts

The Act mandates that the Centre shall support programmes for the development of backward areas in the successor states and to provide adequate funds for the same. In accordance with the APRA-2014, the Government of India released Rs 2,250 crore for the years 2015-16 to 2018-2019 and 2020-21 at Rs 450 crore per year for development of nine erstwhile districts in the state and utilisation certificates were also submitted to the Centre. However, funds for the years 2019-20, 2021-22 and 2022-2023 at Rs 450 crore per year amounting to Rs 1,350 crore have not been released.

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