New Delhi: Overcoming resistance from Seemandhra leaders from Congress, the Centre on Thursday took the first significant step towards creation of Telangana state and deciding that Hyderabad will be the joint capital of the two states for 10 years.

Over two months after the Congress Working Committee put its seal of approval, the Union Cabinet approved the proposal of the Home Ministry for creation of the 29th state and decided to set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to work out modalities.

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"The Cabinet has given its approval for the creation of a new state of Telangana," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.

Hyderabad to be joint capital for 10 years

It was decided that Hyderabad will be the common capital of the two bifurcated states for 10 years, Shinde said. After the creation of the new state, the security and guarantees including fundamental rights of the people of coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana will be ensured, he said.

The Cabinet approved a GoM that will go into the issue of a special financial disbursement that may be required from the Centre for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh, for building its capital and to cater to special needs of the backward regions.

In the meeting, Ministers MM Pallam Raju and KS Rao voiced their opposition to the move. They are believed to have said that bifurcation will lead to problems.

The new state will have a geographical area of 10 of the 23 districts of undivided Andhra Pradesh.

Out of 42 Lok Sabha seats and 294 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana is likely to have 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 Assembly seats.

According to sources, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who listened to all the views, said Congress as well as UPA have already taken a call on the creation of Telangana so there was no need to cause further delay on it.

Reiterating the commitment to the creation of the separate state, Singh also assured that the government will address all issues related to coastal Andhra, Telangana and Rayalseema.

The issue was discussed for close to 1.5 hours in the meeting and Singh asked all ministers to give their opinions. Raju and Rao, who opposed the decision, argued that after the bifurcation, Andhra Pradesh will become the poorest state in the country as most of the resources would be left for Telangana region, including Hyderabad which is the most developed and prosperous city in the region.

However, Union Ministers S Jaipal Reddy, who hails from Telangana region, and Jairam Ramesh countered them saying that the CWC cannot be altered.

NCP chief and Union Minister Sharad Pawar said that the creation of Telangana is a must and recalled that his party had supported its creation in 2004.

Union Minister and RLD chief Ajit Singh, who strongly supported the Telangana decision, also used the occasion to pitch for a separate state of Harit Pradesh to be carved out of parts of Western Uttar Pradesh.

Talking to reporters after the decision, Reddy said, "I am very happy. The people of Telangana had been demanding a separate state for the last 60 years and we are grateful to the UPA government as well as Congress party. I am hopeful that the bill for the creation of Telangana will be passed in the Winter Session of the Parliament."


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