Telangana and Andhra Pradesh stuck to their stands on pending bilateral issues under Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014 at a meeting with Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Wednesday.
The Chief Secretaries of the Telugu states reiterated their stand during the meeting, held by video conferencing, on various issues arising out of the bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh in 2014.
Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Sameer Sharma and some other officials of both the states attended the meeting.
Telangana wanted Andhra Pradesh to withdraw court cases filed by the latter so that issues related to the bifurcation of Schedule IX and X institutions and payment of electricity dues can be settled.
On Andhra Pradesh’s claim of electricity dues by Telangana distribution companies to the tune of Rs 3,442 crore, Telangana officials maintained that the total dues which are receivable from Andhra Pradesh are Rs 12,111 crore.
Telangana argued that if all the dues are considered such as debt servicing of Ananthapur and Kurnool districts and costs incurred due to purchase of thermal power by Telangana after it was deprived of low-cost hydel power from Sileru Hydro Project, the Telangana utilities have to receive a net amount of Rs 12,111 crore and not the other way round. Further, AP utilities filed a case in the High Court. Telangana has demanded that the case be withdrawn so that the amounts can be settled.
Somesh Kumar said 5,000 acres of land which was allotted to The Deccan Infrastructure Land Holdings Ltd (DILL) was resumed by the Telangana government in 2015 as the conditions of allotment were violated. The Andhra Pradesh government has filed a writ petition against the said GO and obtained a stay order.
Similarly in the case of the division of Andhra Pradesh State Financial Corporation (APSFC), the Andhra Pradesh government has gone to court and obtained a stay against resumption of 250 acres allotted to the State Finance Corporation for violation of conditions.
Somesh Kumar said the whole issue of bifurcation of Schedule IX institutions is pending because of these court cases filed by Andhra Pradesh, the Telangana government took the stand that unless the court cases are withdrawn, further progress on the bifurcation of Schedule IX institutions cannot be made.
On Andhra Pradesh’s demand for division of Singareni Colllieries Company Ltd (SCCL) and its subsidiary Andhra Pradesh Heavy Machinery Engineering Ltd (APHMEL), he pointed out that as per Schedule XII, Coal (Item 1) of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, of the total equity of SCCL, 51 per cent shall be with the government of Telangana and 49 per cent with the Centre. He said that as there is a specific provision in the very Act itself, the Centre should not have entertained any request raised by Andhra Pradesh regarding the same.
Bhalla concurred with the view of Telangana.
Telangana strongly contested the issue regarding ownership of the APHMEL as it is subsidiary of the SCCL and it should continue to remain in the future also.
On the dispute regarding allocation of the AP Bhawan in New Delhi, Telangana suggested that a committee consisting of state’s Special Chief Secretary, Finance, Ramakrishna Rao, Engineer-in-Chief, R&B, and Resident Commissioner, Telangana with their counterparts of Andhra Pradesh may be constituted and the said committee may give a report giving various options for the division of the Andhra Bhawan. The Union Home Secretary agreed and said that the committee may give a report in a time-bound manner.On apportionment of tax arrears and refund under Sections 50, 51 & 56 of the Reorganisation Act and apportionment of institutions not listed anywhere in the Act, Telangana was of the firm view that there is no need to amend the act after over seven years as this would open endless litigations and further complicate the settled matters. Andhra Pradesh officials said that in case the amendment is not feasible, alternatively, the Centre may compensate the amount of loss.
On division of cash balance and bank deposits, Telangana made a strong demand that the monies which are due from Andhra Pradesh should be settled immediately and payment be made. In case of central sector schemes, an amount of Rs 495 crore is due for more than 7 years. Similarly, there are dues payable by Andhra Pradesh on the monies spent on common institutions such as High Court, Raj Bhawan, etc., to the tune of Rs.315 crore. Even the monies which are accepted such as the share of buildings under construction, welfare fund of Rs 456 crore, and resumption of net credit forward of Rs 208 crore are also not paid.
At this, the Union Home Secretary suggested that two nodal officers be appointed to look into division of cash balances and both states nominated their representatives.
According to Andhra Pradesh officials, 10 bilateral issues, eight projects, and other issues were discussed in the meeting.
While Sharma drew the Home Secretary’s attention towards resource gap funding for 2014-15, Andhra Pradesh officials also raised the issues like funds for Polavaram project, greenfield crude oil refinery, petrochemical complex, Kadapa steel plant, need to upgrade Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, and Tirupati airports as international airports, development of Ramayapatnam port instead of Duggirajupatnam port, the Visakhapatnam-Chennai industrial corridor and tax rebates receivable from the Centre.
Bhalla said that the Central government is taking all steps to ensure that the two states amicably settle the issues.