Demands include the division of Hyderabad HC, national status for irrigation project.

 

Telangana Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 4 pm in New Delhi on Saturday, with a wish list that includes division of Hyderabad High Court and a national status to the Kaleswaram irrigation project across Godavari River that may cost around Rs 90,000 crore. The PM had a one-on-one meeting with the CM for 45 minutes. TRS sources expressed satisfaction over the meeting.

This wish-list is important to the Chief Minister as he readies to face elections to both the Assembly and Lok Sabha in April-May 2019. This is KCR’s second meeting the PM in the last two months besides a meeting of the latter with his son and IT minister K.T. Rama Rao in between.

Aware of the positive mood of the PM, the CM has directed his officials to prepare detailed notes on various issues concerning the state. KCR is apparently pleased with the praise showed on him by PM Modi in Lok Sabha on 20 July, during his reply to the no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition. KCR’s TRS MPs abstained from the LS on the trust vote, thus indirectly helping the BJP government.

Important on the wish-list of KCR is division of the High Court which is currently common to both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Though it is named Hyderabad High Court, a majority of judges and judicial and non-judicial staff is from Andhra and Telangana lawyers have been agitating for a separate High Court. Separate Telangana is incomplete without a separate HC, is their slogan these days. The Union Ministry of Law & Justice is fully sympathetic to this demand and referred the matter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) for speedy resolution of the tussle. The CJI has instructed the Chief Justice of the High Court to seek options from judges and the judges have indicated the same too.

The Telangana government has given two options to the Andhra government—either to shift their High Court to a location in their state or set it up at a temporary building in Hyderabad, till they make permanent arrangements at Amaravati, the capital of AP. Keen on building a permanent building for the High Court at Amaravati, the TDP government is silent on shifting the Andhra High Court immediately.

Another major demand of KCR is to grant national status to the Kaleswaram project which is being built by the state at a cost of Rs 86,000 crore at 2017 prices. This may go up slightly and touch Rs 90,000 crore by this year end. This project, with a storage capacity of 220 tmc water, will irrigate around 30 lakh acres in the semi-arid areas of Telangana, through a series of lift irrigation schemes.

In a way, this is a counter-demand for Andhra government’s Polavaram irrigation project across the same Godavari river, 250 km down below. Securing the Centre’s approval to the newly introduced zonal system in Telangana is another item on KCR’s wish list. This zonal system in which Telangana is divided into seven zones for the purpose of recruitment to government jobs and transfers will ensure 95% reservations to the local people. KCR has written several letters and submitted three memorandums in the last two months seeking the Centre’s help to grant 12% reservations to Muslims in government jobs and educational seats, up by 8% from the earlier 4% and 4% to STs and SCs too. The quota enhancement is very crucial to KCR ahead of the elections.

There are 16 other items on the CM’s wish list which might get the PM’s approval as most of them are related to administrative matters, like transferring six acres of defence land in Secunderabad to the state for construction of a modern Secretariat and setting up of a steel plant at Bayyaram in Kothagudem district, etc.

A TRS MP, who accompanied KCR in Delhi, told The Sunday Guardian on phone that the CM had appointment of five other Union ministers during the trip till Monday. The Rajya Sabha MP didn’t rule out political matters figuring in the discussion of the PM and CM.

TRS circles have confirmed that the BJP was keen on them joining the NDA before the elections, but the CM was not in favour of it, fearing backlash from Muslims.

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