National

Capital loss: Madras, Kurnool, now Hyderabad

Ch RS Sarma M Somasekhar | Updated on March 12, 2018

Potti Sriramulu



AP has no luck with capitals. For the third time now, it has lost a capital. First, it was Madras. Then, briefly, it was Kurnool which served as the State’s Capital from 1953 to 1956, before it was replaced by Hyderabad. But the most-devastating of all is the loss of Hyderabad.

The battle for Hyderabad was acrimonious, hard-fought and prolonged. The plea to at least turn it into a Union Territory was disallowed. The best that was offered was a joint capital for 10 years — breathing time to build a new capital.

Many industrialists, educationists and people from different walks of life believe they have immensely contributed to the growth of Hyderabad as an international city. In fact, the entire Telugu film industry that was based out of Chennai, moved to Hyderabad during the 1980s.

This was followed by hospitals, hotels, pharma, education and realty enterprises spawned by Seemandhra entrepreneurs. However, there is now a positive trend following the bifurcation, with people across the 13 districts having reconciled to reality and are now keen to build the new capital.

Staying power

The resilience and staying power of Andhras cannot be underestimated. “I was a young teacher in the fifties in Kakinada when Potti Sriramulu laid down his life in the house of Bulusu Samba Murthy, a freedom-fighter from Kakinada, in the then Madras State.

Jawaharlal Nehru reluctantly conceded the demand for a separate Andhra State, but in the bargain we lost the capital city — then Madras,” recalled P Chiranjeevi Kumari, an 80-year-old educationist.

Now, after nearly 60 years, the people are back to square one, she said. The present Hyderabad is no longer just a city built by the Nizam, but a modern metropolis developed by people from 23 districts. Therefore, it is a blow to lose Hyderabad, she felt.

G Sreenivasa Rao, a young engineer from Guntur, lamented that thousands of students graduating in the next couple of years will have to forego many opportunities. “Only speedy growth in industry in the region can compensate this loss,” he observed.

Yelamanchali Sivaji, a former Rajya Sabha MP, said this is a significant loss as the resources from the coastal and Rayalseema districts went into the making of Hyderabad.

However, he sees this as a blessing in disguise. With no emotional integration over the years between Telangana and Seemandhra, the rational decision to bifurcate gives scope to the people to build a capital and choose a decentralised growth path, he said. “I want the capital to be shifted as quickly as possible. Ten years is too long a period,” he added.

Leading captains of the industry such as Y Harischandra Prasad, JA Chowdhury, KS Rao, Jaydev Galla and Ayodhya Rami Reddy expressed concern over losing Hyderabad.

But they have rebounded enough to formulate strategies to offset the loss by building infrastructure in Seemandhra.

Chowdhury, who played a key role in accelerating the growth of IT in Hyderabad and headed most industry bodies in the sector, feels the loss is immense, but echoes a strong determination from a large number of motivated industrialists.

These industrialists want to overcome the loss by taking fast-track action driven by the tax incentives the State will get. There will be multiple centres where hi-tech industries will be located. There are resources and manpower to achieve this.

CM Chandrababu Naidu has voiced dreams of creating a Singapore in Seemandhra. The people have given a verdict supporting his vision to build a modern State with an ultramodern capital city.

The region, known for its entrepreneurship, has vowed to back him.

For now, it’s wait and watch.

Published on June 08, 2014

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