Telangana replacing Andhra, at least on boards

August 13th, 2011 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana Hyderabad, Aug 13 (IANS) Telangana state may be a distant dream given the centre’s reluctance to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh but the people seeking it are giving expression to their demand in their own way.

From boards of government offices to names of eateries and from educational institutions to number plates of vehicles, Telangana is fast replacing Andhra Pradesh.

As the pro-Telangana movement intensifies with mass resignations of public representatives cutting across party lines and proposals of indefinite strikes, the districts in the region are witnessing a new trend.

The groups fighting for separate state are changing the boards of the government offices in their strongholds like Warangal, Karimnagar and Medak.

The name of Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, for instance, has been changed to Telangana Tourism Development Corporation by the protestors. Andhra Bank has been renamed Telangana Bank and Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation has become Telangana State Road Transport Corporation.

Andhra meals, a typical Telugu cuisine, is popular across the state but the word Andhra is no longer acceptable at least in some pockets of Telangana. After a few attacks by pro-Telangana activists, Andhra hotels changed their names to Telangana hotels.

“One has to look at this in the context of the Telangana movement. It is not like any other movement for a separate state in the country. It is a 50-year-old struggle. No other movement has such emotions and passions,” P.L. Visweswara Rao, chairman of Telangana Intellectual Forum told IANS.

While businesses owned by people in Telangana are resorting to name-change to show their support to the cause, those run by people from Andhra region are doing it to escape the fury of pro-Telangana groups.

With some groups even threatening attacks on businesses owned by people from Andhra region, factories in Patacheru industrial area in Medak district, recently displayed boards declaring that they are not against the demand for a Telangana state.

Some popular educational institutions owned by businessmen from Andhra also had to face the fury of Telangana groups. Buses of a couple of colleges were set afire on the outskirts of Hyderabad last month.

Alarmed over these developments and the slogan of “Telangana wale jago, Andhra wale bhago” given by Telangana Rashtra Samithi, some famous chains of educational institutions from Andhra have come out with an idea to remain afloat in Telangana.

Sri Chaitanya Group, which runs several educational institutions, including coaching centres for entrance-exams to Indian Institutes of Technology, recently launched its franchise named as Telangana Sri Chaitanya Institutions.

B.S. Rao, Chairman of the Sri Chaitanya Group who hails from Andhra region, said they were only into education and do not have anything to do with bifurcation of state or otherwise.

Narayana Group of Educational Institutions, another major group in education, also plans to add Telangana to its name to continue running over 40 institutions in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana.

However, this has not amused Telangana protagonists. They claim that these institutions want to consolidate themselves in the region by adding Telangana to their names.

“These institutions are in Telangana to mint money. They want to consolidate further by occupying more lands and construct more buildings. We need to see what is the political economy of these institutions be it in education, industry or media. We also need to look at what their vested interests are,” said Visveswara Rao, former head of the department of journalism at Osmania University.

“Tomorrow after the creation of Telangana state, we will examine this because we want to see people of this region enter into education and industry as currently some businessmen from outside Telangana are dominating these sectors,” he added.

(Mohammad Shafeeq can be contacted at m.shafeeq@ians.in)

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