Telugu states accuse the centre of discrimination in funds

Naveen S Garewal

Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, February 2

There is widespread disappointment in Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for being left out for any grants or schemes in the Union Budget.

Opposition parties in strongly-worded messages said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has given money to both Tamil Nadu and Kerala in South India but ignored other states. The people in Telangana were expecting the setting up of a Turmeric Board that has repeatedly been promised by the BJP.

After going through the fine print of the budget, local politicians find nothing of substance in it for the two Telugu states. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) has been at loggerhead with the centre on various issues, including the release of central funds to the state. During his recent visit to Delhi, he unsuccessfully prevailed upon the centre to release Rs 5,000 crore towards flood relief to compensate people for the loss during rains and floods in October 2020.

Andhra Pradesh to views it being ignored in terms of any new projects or funds for development to the see-saw relationship between the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) chief and Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy. BJP is aligning itself with actor turned politician Pawan Kalya and his Janna Sena Party.

Among the Southern States, Nirmala Sitharaman allocated Rs 65,000 crore for road and highway projects in Kerala and Tamil Nadu got 3,500 km of National Highway at an investment of Rs 1.03 lakh crore. But infrastructure development for the Telugu states is missing. Telangana has been demanding industrial corridors between Hyderabad-Nagpur, Hyderabad-Warangal and Hyderabad-Ramagundam and also seeking support for the Pharma City and the Warangal Textile Park, but none of this finds mention in the budget.

TRS Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Kavitha Kalvakuntla, who is also the daughter of the state chief minister said she was disappointed with the fact that Telangana has been completely ignored. Even otherwise she said she was hoping that the budget benefit those who have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. But this has not happened the way it was expected.

Telangana has written several letters to the Union ministers in the recent past seeking allocations for various projects proposed or undertaken by the state. But none of these finds any mention or allocation in the budget.

At the same time, the Telangana Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy said: “BJP was misusing public exchequer for political gains. More allocations were made for election-bound states while other states were totally neglected”.

“BJP government has failed to ensure equitable distribution of resources among all states. This is a wrong practice and if it continues, then all states will get new projects and funds only during election years,” he added.

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