Won’t say yes or no to Telangana: Srikrishna panel

Hyderabad, March 5 (IANS) The five-member Srikrishna Committee Friday said it would not say yes or no to the formation of a separate Telangana state but would only look into the issue in accordance with the terms of reference given by the government.

The committee, which is looking into the demands for and views against separate Telangana state, will initiate the process of wide consultations next month.

Winding up a two-day preliminary visit to Hyderabad, Justice B.N. Srikrishna told reporters here that consultations with political parties, individuals and all stakeholders would begin early April.

‘Whatever the terms of reference given, we are applying our mind to it. We are not saying give Telangana and we are not saying don’t give Telangana. We are applying our mind to the problem,’ the retired Supreme Court justice said.

‘The first term of reference is specific. Other terms of reference are back-up to the first. At this stage, there is no question of prejudging various options. The committee is focussed on inquiry and investigation of the terms of reference,’ he said to another query.

The first term of reference asks the committee ‘to examine the situation in the State of Andhra Pradesh with reference to the demand for a separate state of Telangana as well as the demand for maintaining the present status of a united Andhra Pradesh.’

‘I don’t know. Only time will tell,’ he said when asked if the committee would satisfy the emotions of people.

Srikrishna said it was not the duty of the committee to satisfy everybody emotionally, intellectually or otherwise.

‘We will listen to everybody, examine the material and come up with whatever our talents prompt us to arrive at. We will then put it before the government of India and it is for the government of India to decide,’ he said.

Asked to elaborate on his comment Thursday that the problem between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is like one between a husband and a wife, he said: ‘All husbands want to live with their wives and wives want to live with their husbands. That is what I suppose but it is okay.’

Srikrishna, who was accompanied by four other members of the committee, said politics was not discussed during the meeting with leaders of all political parties at the dinner hosted by Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan Thursday.

‘It was a friendly meeting with no political talk. The whole idea was to generate an atmosphere of goodwill, camaraderie and friendship so that when we actually meet for hard political issues we know each other, we have trust in each other and we have goodwill for each other,’ he said.

This would start after completing the process of receiving representations, he said.

‘It was only a preliminary tour just to make sure that infrastructure is in position when we take up discussions with stakeholders, things move smoothly and we are able to arrive at some kind of a solution within the mandate given to us.’

Committee member secretary V.K. Duggal said there would be no permanent office in Hyderabad but there was full support system available here with a nodal officer.

The committee, which was constituted by the government last month, plans to complete the process of consultations by July 31 and submit its report before its term ends on Dec 31.

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