Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lok Satta to build consensus on contentious issues

The Lok Satta Party will be organizing public meetings in all the three regions of the State shortly to educate and enlighten people on issues arising out of the Center’s decision to form Telangana State and strive for a consensus on practical solutions.

The Lok Satta Party’s State Working Committee took the decision on holding public meetings yesterday.

Disclosing this at a media conference, Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said today that the Lok Satta is taking the initiative since it enjoys credibility by speaking in one voice all over the State.

Dr. JP said the present crisis in the State has arisen because the Center’s ham-handed handling of the State’s bifurcation issue. It has made people pawns in its political chess game and instigated them to fight among themselves. Its decisions are motivated by the ruling party’s desire to win a few more Lok Sabha seats and not out of love for Telugu-speaking people. Treating the State bifurcation as a party issue, the Congress Party constituted the Antony Committee instead of going in for a parliamentary or Cabinet committee to go into the issues that State’s bifurcation throws up.

Dr. JP delineated the issues that need an amicable solution. The foremost among them is ensuring physical and economic security to people living in Hyderabad. Nearly 35 percent of the 93 lakh people living in Greater Hyderabad are from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, and another 8-10 lakh people from other parts of the country. Mere reiteration of there being constitutional safeguards will not assuage their feelings of insecurity. A mechanism should be established to ensure that the right to live and work anywhere is honored in letter and spirit.

The next contentious issue is the sharing of revenue from Hyderabad city. Since the city accounts for almost half of the State’s revenue, the region(s) which lose Hyderabad will become unviable. Therefore, arrangements should be made for rational allocation of the city’s revenue among different regions.

Thanks to the implementation of the six-point formula since 1975, 95 percent of Government employees will not encounter any problems following the formation of a new State. The anxieties of the rest of the employees who work in the Secretariat, offices of heads of departments and other institutions should be addressed.

Arrangements have to be made for equitable sharing of river waters among the regions. Constitution of boards to ensure water release based on the ayacut in each region could be considered since mere tribunal awards on water allocation will not engender confidence among people.

Dr. JP also called for initiating permanent measures to ensure a bright future for the backward Rayalaseema region here and now as otherwise the problem will haunt the State in future. Perhaps, it can de designated as a distress area and special grants provided.

Dr. JP appealed to Government employees to ensure that Eamcet counseling for admission to engineering and other colleges goes on uninterrupted. A majority of students, mostly from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, could not get their certificates verified on the first day of counseling on August 19 because of Government employees’ strike.

Dr. JP said it is tragic that admissions could not be taken up even 100 days after the Eamcet and as a result the students are running the risk of losing an academic year.

Dr. JP said that Government employees whether in Telangana or Andhra are not justified in taking part in political movements by going on strike. They are held in exalted status because they are public servants. But they have no right to declare a war on people and disrupt their lives by going on strike for a political cause. Nothing prevents them from voicing their feelings freely.

Dr. JP said that political parties are instigating employees, youth and students to serve their short-term, partisan ends. The employees and others should not fall into their trap and indulge in confrontation with their colleagues.

Lok Satta Party Vice Presidents D. V. V. S. Varma, Y. D. Rama Rao and Bandaru Ramamohan Rao took part in the media conference.

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