"Telangana is not a panacea for all problems. Unfortunately political parties created such an impression. They raised aspirations and if those aspirations are not met, there can be severe backlash and discontent, he said."
By Mohammed Shafeeq

Hyderabad, June 7 - The formation of Telangana as India's 29th state Monday and its first government assuming office the same day have raised a lot of hopes among ots 35 million people, who expect more job opportunities and an improvement in the standard of living - an aspiration for which they had agitated for years and lost so many people in the movement for a separate state.

While Telangana's getting separate statehood was the biggest achievement, it was not the end in itself. Experts feel the government will have to focus on electricity generation, irrigation, industry and education to live up to the people's expectations.

Telangana has an area of 114,000 sq. km and a population of 35.28 million. Hyderabad, one of the 10 districts of Telangana, is the prized asset of the new region as this technology hub will contribute bulk of the revenues. The city contributed over Rs.34,000 crore ($5.7 billion) to undivided Andhra Pradesh's total revenues of Rs.70,548 crore during 2012-13.

Though Hyderabad will serve as a common capital of Telangana and the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh, its revenues will go to Telangana, of which it is a geographical part.

World-class infrastructure, presence of several global IT companies and premier research and educational institutions make Hyderabad the ideal destination for investors.

However, outside Hyderabad, Telangana is a backward state. Barring a couple of urban centres, most of Telangana is poor, without proper infrastructure and industry and due to its geographical disadvantage, even lack of irrigation facilities though the Godavari and Krishna rivers flow through the region.

Hyderabad still has the potential to expand with the proposed satellite townships along the Outer Ring Road. The proposed Information Technology Investment Region (ITIR) is expected to further boost the IT sector but taking the growth to other parts of Telangana will be a major challenge for the government.

As the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which formed the first government in the new state, embarks on its 'Golden Telangana' mission, it is aware of the huge expectations the people have.

Achieving the separate state is only the beginning. People have huge expectations. The Telangana movement raised the consciousness levels of the people and also raised their expectations, Madabhushu Sridhar, a professor at NALSAR University of Law, told IANS.

With the government drawing up plans to attract new industry, it is facing a huge task of generating electricity to overcome the shortage. The state has a shortfall of 2,000 MW. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao has vowed to make Telangana an electricity-surplus stats in three years.

Experts believe the government will have to bring industries with a high capacity of employment generation.

The new state has also raised the expectations of farmers in terms of availability of both water and electricity. The upland region depends on rain and groundwater and drawing water from the two major rivers that flow through the region remains a challenge.

Sridhar feels the government should draw up plans to utilize its entire share of river water. He also wants the authorities to focus on minor irrigation and rain water harvesting.

By promising to waive off farm loans of up to Rs.1 lakh, free education at all levels, 12 percent reservation for minorities, a two-bedroom house for all poor families and top priority to welfare of the weaker sections of society, the TRS has raised expectations of all sections.

The government should focus on development and not on freebies. I hope the government will deliver because it is led by the party which spearheaded the movement for a separate state. They know what the region needs, said Sridhar.

He did not agree that Telangana will be a failed state. Telangana is bigger than many European countries. It has all the potential to become a developed state. It only needs a helping hand from the central government, he said.

K. Nageswar, a professor in the department of journalism in Osmania University, warned that having raised people's expectations so high, the government's failure may lead to a backlash.

Telangana is not a panacea for all problems. Unfortunately political parties created such an impression. They raised aspirations and if those aspirations are not met, there can be severe backlash and discontent, he said.

(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at [email protected])


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