Saturday, December 12, 2009

Industry not bothered who gets Hyderabad

HYDERABAD: Will the city of Hyderabad become the capital of the proposed state of Telangana or get the status of union territory? The business community and industry are not bothered. But business and industry leaders are concerned over the shutdowns and violence in Hyderabad and other parts of the Telangana region as well as the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. The industry in general is indifferent to what happens to Hyderabad in the event of a division of the state, saying their only concern is peace, political stability and good infrastructure. Hyderabad, a hub of IT, biotechnology and pharma, is at the centre of a tussle between Telangana and Andhra regions. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and others have already made it clear that Telangana state without Hyderabad is unacceptable as the city had been the capital of the region for 400 long years. Those opposing a division of the state want union territory status for Hyderabad in the event of formation of Telangana. The reasons are obvious. Industrialists from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions have made huge investments in Hyderabad ever since Telangana was merged with then Andhra State (which had Kurnool as the capital) in 1956 to form Andhra Pradesh. "There is a concern over the developments of the last few days. There is apprehension of violence affecting business and industry," Harish Chandra Prasad, chairman of the Confederation of Industry (CII), Andhra Pradesh, told IANS. He said this fear was not only among businessmen and industrialists from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions but also among those from other states and even among multinational companies. "We would not like to comment on politics but we want the issue to be settled at the earliest. If it is settled quickly, then the impact on business and investment will be negligible. But if it prolongs for one or two years, it will have an adverse impact," said Prasad. Hyderabad, which witnessed unprecedented growth over the last decade, is home to over 1,000 IT firms including national and multinational giants like Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Mahindra Satyam, Microsoft and Google. Geographically located in the heart of the Telanagna region, this four-century-old city was the capital of the princely state of Hyderabad ruled by the Asaf Jahis (Nizams). A fine blend of tradition and modernity, the landscape of this city of minarets transformed in recent years with gleaming business houses, hotels and shopping malls. Hyderabad has a population of about eight million, nearly 35 percent of them Muslims. There are others who feel that it does not matter whether Hyderabad is included in Telangana state or Andhra state or given the status of a union territory. "As far as industry is concerned, it really doesn't matter as long as there are no law and order problems. The industry only wants peaceful atmosphere, a stable government, manpower and good infrastructure," said J.A. Chowdary, president of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) and a former president of Hyderabad Software Exporters Association (HYSEA). "As long as our primary conditions are met, it makes no difference who is in power or which state we are in. There should be no shutdowns and disturbances. During the last 10 days the industry lost productivity," he said. Chowdary was also of the opinion that industrialists and businessmen from other regions had nothing to worry about even if a separate state was carved out and Hyderabad becomes its capital. "Several small states were carved out of bigger states in recent years but there were no incidents of local people driving out non-locals. Every state wants investment. The chief minister of Telangana will not want to see Hyderabad as a ghost city. Everyone wants more job opportunities," he said. "An investor goes to a state or city where he or she gets good appreciation for investment. He wants good returns wherever he goes," said Chowdary, who is also the chairman of NVIDIA Graphics India.


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