Hyderabad: A meeting was conducted by the Union ministry of home affairs in Delhi to discuss the pending bilateral issues between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The issues in question have remain unresolved since the bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh state.
A big chunk of the issues pertained to division of assets and corporations owned by the state governments as well as the 2014 AP Reorganisation Act.
Based on Dr Sheela Bhide’s expert committee, the sub-committee of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has decided to divide 90 government company corporations in three phases. These institutions fall under Schedule 9. Of the same, there is no difference of opinion on 53 Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).
The division of 15 PSUs are agreeable to Telangana but not to Andhra Pradesh while Telangana is unwilling to budge on 22 other institutions.
AP has been keen on ensuring that Dr Sheela Bhide committee’s recommendations are accepted in full. Telangana officials, on their end have clarified that until its state high court disposes of pending cases with respect to certain institutions, no action can be taken and this applies to the definition of a head quarter as well.
The Telangana government has resumed lands which were unutilized by DILL in 2015. Andhra Pradesh has filed a case in High Court wherein interim stay orders were issued. The expert committee has recommended for division of these properties treating them as Head Quarters assets despite objections from Telangana government.
The Telangana high court has declared that the MHA does not have any jurisdictions with respect to appointment of assets and liabilities for Schedule 9 institutions. As such, the home secretary has directed the MHA to examine all the court cases in consultation with Law Department.
Telangana government asked of the MHA to constitute a board of the AP State Finance Corporation in May, 2016. However, no such board was set up. The erstwhile corporation prepared a bifurcation plan unilaterally and sent it to the Indian government for approval.
In this case also, AP has approached high court against the resumption of 238 acres of land in Ranga Reddy District. While the court issued a status quo order in 2015, the case is still pending.
Andhra Pradesh State wanted that keeping the land issue separate and wishes for the balance of issues related to bifurcation by the Union government. Telangana State has objected to the same as the issue involved in this case is also definition of Head Quarter and it is unclear if the land in question would qualify as a head quarter.
The Home Secretary has requested MHA to examine the case keeping in view of the status quo orders of High Court.
There are 142 institutions which are listed under Schedule X. Based on the Supreme Court judgement in the case of AP State Council of Higher Education, the Union government has issued a speaking order that the cash balances would be divided on population ratio and assets on location basis.
While Telangana agrees, AP had filed a writ petition in 2018 in its high court and the matter remains pending. Andhra Pradesh State wants that the Schedule X institutions assets are also to be divided in population ratio instead of location.
Telangana government has also filed a case in the matter of Telugu Academy bifurcation. While the cases are still pending, Telangana argues that the MHA order is based on the Supreme Court directions and as such no further review of the matter is needed and any such review by MHA shall be protested.
Division of Singireni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) and Andhra Pradesh Heavy Machinery Engineering Ltd. (APHMEL)
AP government raised the issue of Singireni Collieries Company Ltd’s (SCCL) bifurcation as they have assets in the successor state of Andhra Pradesh. Telangana State has strongly objected and said that the question of Division of SCCL does not arise as there is a specific provision in the Act transferring the 51% of equity to Telangana State completely.
Similarly, APHMEL is only a subsidiary company of SCCL and the only division which is to be done is that of equity of the then Andhra Pradesh State. The Home Secretary gave directions to MHA to examine the matter.
Cash Credit Amount due to A.P State Civil Supplies Corporation for Telangana State Civil Supplies and release of rice subsidy
There is a dispute with regard to cash credit liability which was utilized by Telangana State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd. before the corporation was divided. Telangana government has agreed to pay the principal amount of the cash credit subject to the condition that A.P State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd. gives an undertaking that the subsidy to be released by the Union government would be transferred to Telangana.
There is a dispute regarding even on the principal amount and which was originally agreed to Rs.354 crores and is subsequently revised. Telangana has agreed to consult the banks in this regard and with Andhra Pradesh to repay the reconciled principal amount. The subsidy amount due to Telangana State would be transferred as and when it is received by Union government.
Andhra Pradesh has raised the issue of apportionment of 12 institutes which are not mentioned anywhere in the Act. Telangana objected as they argued this would tantamount to amendment of the AP reorganisation act and the process of division would never end by this logic.
The Home Secretary requested MHA to examine the matter in consultation with Law Department.
Division of Cash and Bank Balance (Funds under Centrally sponsored Schemes/Expenditure on Common Institutions/ public debt pertaining to Externally Aided Projects
The three issues related to division of funds under Centrally Sponsored Schemes, expenditure on common institutions and public debt related to externally aided projects (EAPs) was discussed and agreed that both the states should take the help of C&AG of India to settle the same.
Further, as per Telangana government’s request, the Home Secretary has instructed Ministry of Finance to release the funds for development of backward districts in the state.
Telangana’s chief secretary Somesh Kumar raised the issue of Establishment of Tribal University
as per the provisions of A.P Reorganization Act, 2014. The land was provided. However, with the lack of developments, the home secretary directed the Ministry of higher education to expedite the matter.
Telangana State has raised the issue of establishment of Rail Coach Factory in Kazipet and informed that Home Secretary that the required land of 150 acres was already mutated in favour of Railways. The Home Secretary has instructed the Ministry of Railways to examine the matter and take necessary action expeditiously.
Andhra Pradesh government wanted AP Reorganization Act to be amended to remove the matters related to anomaly in taxation matters mentioned in Section 50, 51 and 56. Telangana government has strongly objected to amending the Act at this length of time after 8 years of formation of Telangana.