By K Chandrasekhar Rao
Most people who are not completely familiar with the Telangana issue refer to Hyderabad as being the main bottleneck in the formation of Telangana state. They say since Hyderabad has been the capital of Andhra Pradesh for so long and people from all regions have invested here, it cannot be given to Telangana as its capital.
I want to make it clear that Hyderabad has to be part of Telangana state. How can it not be? Which fool says otherwise? It is a historical city of Telangana, built on the sweat and blood of the people of the region.
Some people are suggesting that it could be shared as a common capital between Telangana and Andhra. How can it be shared, I ask. Geographically, Hyderabad is a part of Telangana. Telangana and Andhra were two different states, administered separately. We demand status quo ante as on 31 October 1956, the day before the present-day Andhra Pradesh came into existence. In any case, the Andhra border will be 200 km from Hyderabad in whichever direction you and so it will be impractical for them to have Hyderabad as their capital, outside their borders.
I want to assure everyone that no one needs to think that any non-Telanganite will be targetted. It is foolish to even think so. They in fact, will enjoy more privileges and advantages in Telangana. We are keen to attract investment from all over the world. Our boys will need jobs in industries. For example, we have a vibrant Telugu film industry here. Will we let them move away? No. On the contrary, we will give them more incentives to develop.
The other day, chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy said in the Assembly that he is a Hyderabadi since he is born and brought up in Hyderabad. How does it matter to the people of Telangana whether Kiran Kumar Reddy is born in Hyderabad, Tirupati or Vijayawada. Ultimately people of Telangana demand their own state. They want their self-respect for which there is no substitute on earth.
(This picture was taken near Tandur in Ranga Reddy district in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. Photo courtesy : www.simplytelangana.com)
We are not declaring any cut-off date, saying only those people who have been in Telangana before 1 November 1956 are Telanganites, and the rest are not. After formation of Telangana state, this will be like any other state in India. And everyone can live here. After all, there are 75 lakh Telanganites living in other parts of India. Mumbai alone has 25 lakh of them. Go to Bhiwandi and you will find the place full of people from this region.
Yes, there is a bit of uncertainty now. But that will not be there after the formation of Telangana state. Glory of Hyderabad will be maintained and it will be the safest investment destination. We will make Hyderabad a vibrant city, not the kind of Hyderabad you see now. We will go for satellite townships all around Hyderabad within a radius of 120 km. We will lay expressways, pollution-free light rail transport to connect to the international airport. We will make this a city where everyone can live, invest and enjoy.
We feel the formation of Telangana is imminent and the slogan now is : Ek aur dhakka, Telangana pucca !
(K Chandrasekhar Rao is the President of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti)