No Union Territory status for Hyderabad: GoM

GOMAt the GoM meeting in New Delhi, Friday PTI

The Group of Ministers (GoM), set up to look into issues concerning the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, ruled out the possibility of declaring Hyderabad as Union Territory in its first meeting held on Friday.

The Cabinet had declared Hyderabad as joint capital of Telangana and Seemandhra for 10 years.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Minister A K Antony missed the meeting, which also discussed financial packages for Seemandhra that is likely to include tax concessions and a special grant for backward regions.

The meeting was chaired by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.

In a statement released after the meeting, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the GoM discussed the modalities to carve out Telangana while keeping in mind to address relevant issues and concerns with fairness and objectivity. "The GoM would take opinion of stakeholders on all important subjects while formulating its recommendations," the statement added.

"The next meeting of the GoM will be held on October 19," said an official, adding the government was serious in bringing the Andhra Pradesh re-organisation Bill at the earliest.

The GoM also ruled out imposition of President's rule in the state despite violent protests.

Sources claimed the GoM has decided not to visit Andhra Pradesh in order to have a fair and impartial view.

The Home Ministry is also learnt to have invited suggestions from the public on the bifurcation through e-mails.

After the meeting, Shinde said: "The basis of all discussions and decisions of GoM will be the Srikrishna Committee's report."

The GoM, however, is of the view that the people and government of Seemandhra shall decide on the new capital for their state instead of the Centre thrusting their decision on them, said officials.

In the coming days, the GoM, besides determining the boundaries of Telangana and the residuary state of Andhra, will also look into legal and administrative steps to ensure that both states function efficiently from Hyderabad.

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