PFL Bay area organised debate on Andhra Pradesh State Bifurcation: Problems and Solutions

Sept 30th 2013: People for Lok Satta (PFL) convened a roundtable conference with participants drawn from Telangana, Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. The meeting was held in Sunnyvale, California at the banquet hall of Athidhi restaurant for a discussion on state bifurcation that appears to be inevitable. The program began with cultural activities and

quiz programs on Telugu culture and language. The participants enthusiastically shared their love for literary works and quotes of eminent Telugu writers drawn from all times and regions of Andhra Pradesh.

Round table discussion and debate session moderated by Mr. Kalyan Raman followed the interaction and introductions. The main objectives of the conference was to discuss key issues such as; if Hyderabad should be the common capital or other alternative solutions, security for jobs and assets for people from all regions, sharing educational institutes and other natural resources like water and power, to introspect on who’s responsible for the current situation and how to overcome it in the future and also to discuss on the role of NRI’s in the current Andhra Pradesh (AP) bifurcation crisis.

There were mixed responses and strong perspectives on contentious issues among the attendees. For example, on the issue of water allocation, some felt that issues of water and jobs will be sorted out eventually by respective boards and are not real issues to be concerned with as they are currently just prejudices or assumptions. On the other side of the debate, participants quoted existing examples of inter state conflict on water and other asset allocation that have taken years for any resolution. Everyone felt that the reasonable majority on both sides must develop respect and understanding for each others’ perceived and real concerns in order to avoid future conflicts that could arise because of few opportunists. However most of the attendees felt that unity of Telugu people and for that matter unity of Indians is paramount importance than the state division or unification.

NRIs had a mixed response of answers for Hyderabad as a common capital. Some wanted a separate capital for Andhra and others suggested that Hyderabad be declared a union territory. Everyone agreed to share Hyderabad’s revenue based on population and debt to be shared based on projects where funds are invested. Security should be provided for everyone on issues related to employment and personal property. Regarding education institutes, quota should be set based on population and inflow of students. Natural resources like water should be shared under strict and stringent rules framed and controlled by the central government. We had a unanimous support on decentralization of administrative power and was accepted as the main reason for the current crisis. When PFL reached out to several NRI’s to participate in the round-table conference, some were only interested in entertainment and cultural events, a few felt that such discussions do not result in personal gains and moreover had the wrong assumption that Dr. Jaya Prakash Narayan was opposing state bifurcation. A need for NRI’s involvement and support in the current AP crisis is much needed and would be appreciated.

Several participants appreciated PFL’s initiative on conducting the round-table conference and also expressed their concerns that other parties have failed to do so. We thank TV5 Media reporter Naseem Shaik , DesiPlaza (Dallas Local media) for media support. PFL Dallas Team members Rajanikanth Errabelly, Ramana Juvvadi were among the organizers and sponsoring this event in Dallas, Texas.

Several participants appreciated PFL’s initiative for conducting the round-table conference, and expressed the need for having more dialogue to dispel the distrust and anxiety that have enveloped Telugu people. Mr. Ravindra Nandam, president of PFL bay area, thanked all attendees and promised the follow up activities to continue to show how people can discuss amid disagreements to the rest of the Telugu community.

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