Hyderabad to add another chapter to its history

Hyderabad, July 31 (IANS) Hyderabad is all set to add another chapter to its 422-year-old history by becoming the joint capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for 10 years.

Located in the heart of Telangana, the city will also serve as the capital of Andhra Pradesh, the name which the non-Telangana region called Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra) is likely to retain.

Under the formula worked out by Congress, Hyderabad will serve as joint capital for 10 years and during this period, Andhra Pradesh will build its own capital.

Hyderabad does not share a contiguous boundary with Seemandhra or future Andhra Pradesh. Anybody coming from that state will cover a distance of at least 200 km to reach the capital.

Though Chandigarh is a joint capital of Haryana and Punjab, it shares boundaries with both the states. When news states were carved out of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, they built their own capitals.

However, it was not easy for the central government to ask Seemandhra to immediately give up Hyderabad, a city in whose development over the last 56 years they claim to have played a major part.

A decision on the state's division was delayed as Hyderabad was the bone of contention.

Since Hyderabad is historically and geographically a part of Telangana, its leaders were not ready for a state without this city, which also contributes bulk of the state's revenues. Seemandhra leaders were demanding union territory or special status to Hyderabad to protect their interests.

The industrialists and businessmen from Andhra are estimated to have invested Rs.50,000 crore in Hyderabad. The bulk of this investment came since 1995 when the city emerged as an IT hub, triggering an infrastructure boom with unprecedented increase in real estate prices.

Hyderabad has a population of about seven million and an estimated 30 percent of them are from Seemandhra. They include government employees, students and businessmen. The city is also the hub of the Telugu film industry, dominated by actors from Andhra.

The Congress has promised to take care of their concerns by asking the government to take steps for the safety and security of all residents.

The Congress also requested the government to take legal and administrative measures to ensure that both state governments can function from the common capital for 10 years.

Andhra Pradesh may not have to build separate buildings for assembly and secretariat as the existing buildings can accommodate them. Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has already indicated this.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which had once given a slogan of 'Telangana wale Jago, Andhra wale bhago', has assured people of Seemandhra living in Hyderabad that they need not have any apprehensions.

Only 50 percent of Hyderabad's population comprise of native residents and people from other parts of Telangana.

"When people from other states and of many nationalities can come and settle here, why our Telugu-speaking brothers should have any problems?" said Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha.

The cosmopolitan character of Hyderabad existed since the times of Qutub Shahis and Asaf Jahis (Nizams) when people from Iran, Yemen and Arab countries made Hyderabad their home.

Known for its long history of multi-linguistic, religious and cultural heritage, it is the fifth largest city in India. A key destination for IT and ITeS companies, it is home to giants like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, IBM, Oracle, Dell, Motorola, HSBC and Deloitte.

It is also known as the bulk drug and pharma capital of India and is home to a large number of central public sector undertakings, scientific research institutes and defence establishments.

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