HYDERABAD (TIP): In a major concession to the Seemandhra lobby aimed at minimizing the opposition to the passage of the AP Reorganization Bill, 2013, the Group of Ministers that met here on February 6 recommended Hyderabad be made a Union Territory for the 10 years it will serve as the joint capital of the two states.

The draft Telangana bill had placed Hyderabad in the Telangana region, but to be administered by the Telangana governor with the aid of two advisors. However, the Union Cabinet, which is slated to take up the recommendations of the GoM for consideration at its special Telangana-centred meeting will have to clear the UT model for the joint capital.

Apart from recommending making Hyderabad a UT, the GoM is also believed to have recommended that villages in Telangana’s Khammam district that will be submerged because of the Polavaram project be merged with Seemandhra’s East and West Godavari districts so that no inter-state dispute comes in the way of the establishment of the project.

These two recommendations were among the many submitted to the GoM by Seemandhra ministers on Wednesday night. After the meeting, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, also the head of GoM, and key member Jairam Ramesh briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi about its recommendations. The GoM is said to have been given political clearance by Sonia to forward its recommendations for the approval of the full cabinet meeting on Friday.

The Seemandhra lobby has been insisting that if division is inevitable, Hyderabad should be made either a permanent UT or UT at least for the period it serves as the joint capital of Telangana and residuary Andhra Pradesh after the division. The decision to make Hyderabad a UT is sure to be opposed by Telangana parties such as the TRS, which is already unhappy with the idea of granting special powers to the governor with regard to law and order and land.

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