now, ten years later, it should be evident to everyone paying some serious thought to the issue in the state that: no one outside the state, least of all in delhi, has been paying any serious thought to the issue. that should tell them a lot about how to go about solving their problems. and help them understand democracy, federalism and politics as practised in india better. and also make them rethink on pretty ideas like: india, citizenship, rights etc.
that rethinking might not cure anyone of suicidal tendencies, it might actually prompt more suicides, but... one could at least attribute more rational motives to those suicides. can't be anything but a cynic now.
but i still hope some serious thought would be paid to some basic economic questions of how viable bifurcation or trifurcation is. like the questions jayaprakash narayan raises in this article:
There are serious economic issues to be examined on the issue of carving out a separate State in Andhra Pradesh. First, the capital city is a serious bone of contention, and once people and investors lose faith in the future, it will decline rapidly.
This will hurt both Andhra Pradesh and India, because large cities are now important clusters of growth, and if a Mumbai or Delhi faces economic hardship, the whole nation will be impacted by the fallout.
Second, parts of the coastal region are agriculturally well-developed and have resources and surpluses. For instance, the coastal region generates surplus revenues in the power sector, and is subsidising power for farmers in Telangana and Rayalaseema. A separate State will be burdened by an unviable power sector.
Costal regions are always engines of growth all over the world. Telangana is land-locked, and losing the costal region would retard growth and opportunities. Again, this is the first time a land-locked region is seeking to separate from the coastal belt. When passions subside, the pain and deprivation will be felt.
Water resources are always a bone of contention in a monsoon-fed country. Even in a relatively well-managed city of Mumbai, enjoying abundant rainfall on the West coast, water riots took a life recently. In a water-starved region, river water disputes will escalate, and sharing of Krishna and Godavari waters will be a nightmare.
In the K-G basin off the Andhra coast, abundant natural gas reserves have recently been found, and are being tapped. Already, there is the challenge of sharing natural resources between the home State and the rest of India, and now Telangana will be further depleted.
Large, unviable lift irrigation projects — at a capital cost of Rs 3-4 lakh per acre and Rs 40,000 per year per acre maintenance cost — have been unwisely proposed in Telangana. They will be a permanent drain on the economy of the region, undermining it without ensuring benefits.
while agreeing with most of what he says on telangana, i'd like to add that coastal andhra and rayalaseema would also face serious problems if they choose to stay together or split further into two more states.
among indian states, one'd notice two approaches to the issue of development: one revolves around wanton exploitation of whatever natural resources are available and badly mismanaging their distribution in the name of building agricultural wealth and surpluses on the one hand , and using those surpluses in trying to build 'industrial clusters' or one or two urban engines of growth on the other. apart from the majority of indian states, the indian government itself practises that approach. the second approach is the one that had been followed in kerala for a long time, what i'd call the people-oriented approach. an approach that focuses on building people's capabilities, as amartya sen would say. the second approach is of course more democratic, needs and wastes less natural resources, and creates fewer socio-economic divisions.
given the fact that the debate on division still seems to be conducted mostly along a perspective born out of the first approach to development, one can confidently predict that all three regions of the state, divided or together, would always find problems in the management of the two key, in their view, resources: power and water. will try to look at the problems as i understand them, very briefly, in the rest of the post.
telangana, as dr.jayaprakash narayan points out, would face problems in the short to medium term in the area of power. building new capacities in thermal power (through coal, of questionable quality, from singareni in which the separatists seem to put much faith) would require time, and the shortfall could have a fatal effect on both the city of hyderabad and the progress of industrialisation in the new state and on agriculture. in the area of water, there is very little the new state could do to improve availability in the krishna basin region, comprising primarily the two very backward districts of nalgonda and mahboobnagar. the question of how much can be tapped from the godavari hasn't been fully answered by the separatists, but again as dr.jayaprakash narayan points out, the costs involved could be too high.
rayalaseema could face the worst water and power problems: its hopes hinge on more water from the krishna, which isn't there, and from the godavari which runs entirely through the telangana and coastal andhra region. the proposed polavaram project on the godavari is supposed to divert some water to the krishna basin region in coastal andhra so that rayalaseema could use more water from the krishna. in the event of division, the completion of polavaram, and of the implementation of the original allocation plans seems very... problematic.
the north coastal region in the state (including the growing city of visakhapatnam, a potential capital for the new state) another very backward region in the state, also depends on the completion of the polavaram project for its current and future water needs. any change in plans could impact negatively vizag's potential. two other districts in the south coastal andhra, prakasam and nellore, also have water-starved regions.
and there's also the question of not having a city like hyderabad to act as an engine or driver of industrial growth, which could severely affect overall economic development in both the regions. and building one new capital city, or two new capital cities, would cost much more than what most people seem to think.