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Another Telangana-Andhra row, but this time over buildings

Hyderabad: Another row seems to be brewing between the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, this time over certain buildings under the latters control here.

The two Telugu states have already locked horns on sharing river waters and distributing assets of various institutions located here.

The Andhra Pradesh government early this month quietly shifted its base to upcoming capital Amaravati but is yet to vacate some buildings.

The Telangana government has urged the joint Governor of the two states to take back the buildings, including those in the secretariat complex, the assembly and the council.

Though Hyderabad was declared joint capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for a period not exceeding 10 years, Andhra Pradesh moved out within two-and-a-half years after the state’s bifurcation.

Last month, the Andhra Pradesh legislature held its last session in Hyderabad while the secretariat completed its shift earlier this month.

This silently cut Andhra Pradesh’s bond with Hyderabad which was forged in 1956 when Telugu-speaking areas of then Hyderabad State were merged with the then Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh.

The shift has been smooth and swift, considering the initial statements from Andhra Pradesh leaders that they have all rights over Hyderabad for 10 years.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had quietly moved his base to Vijayawada last year, after the cash-for-vote scam in Telangana put him in a tight spot.

A top Telangana leader of his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was caught red-handed while bribing a nominated legislator to seek his vote for a TDP candidate in the legislative council elections. With an audio tape of Naidu’s purported telephonic conversation with the nominated legislator becoming public, it created a lot of bad blood between the two states, with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government accusing Naidu of plotting to topple it.

Even after shifting the offices of the Chief Minister, secretaries and heads of department, Andhra Pradesh has not snapped all the links with Hyderabad.

It is still holding on to the buildings where the secretariat was functioning since the bifurcation of the state. A skeletal staff still remains here, including some officials to attend to judicial matters, as the High Court is yet to be bifurcated.

Planning to build a new integrated building for the state secretariat, Telangana has approached E S L Narasimhan, the joint Governor of the two states, to make Andhra Pradesh vacate the buildings at the secretariat.

The Telangana cabinet on Friday passed a resolution requesting that the buildings in Hyderabad which were allocated to Andhra Pradesh be handed over to the newly-formed state.

“The Andhra Pradesh government is not using these buildings and hence we have demanded that these be handed over to Telangana,” Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari said.

However, going by the statements emanating from Vijayawada, the Andhra Pradesh government looks in no mood to vacate them without getting something in return.

The neighbouring state is reportedly keen on its guest house in Hyderabad on the lines of Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in New Delhi. Naidu may seek prime land for this.

There is also a possibility of Andhra using it to barter for a division of institutions listed under the 10th schedule of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014. The two Telugu states are at odds with each other over sharing of assets of the institutions listed in the Schedule.

As many as 107 institutions are listed under this schedule. The Supreme Court observed recently that Telangana cannot claim absolute right over the institutions that are listed in the 10th Schedule and are located in Hyderabad.

After the bifurcation, Andhra Pradesh was allotted five blocks at the secretariat complex while other blocks were given to Telangana.

PTI