From tribal varsity to turmeric board: The Modi govt’s four unfulfilled promises for Telangana

Union apathy continues despite protests by civic groups and the BRS government.

WrittenBy:Anjana Meenakshi
Date:
The BJP lotus against a map of Telangana.
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The Union government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party had made several promises to provide funds and set up institutions for the betterment of India’s youngest state, Telangana. 

Now, nine years after it was formed, Telangana is heading for its third legislative assembly election on November 30. But several of these promises have not been fulfilled, despite protests by civic groups and the state government led by the Bharat Rashtra Samithi.

The News Minute looks at four promises made by the BJP central government which are yet to be realised and the status of these projects.

Tribal university in Mulugu district

On October 4 this year, the Union Cabinet said it will amend the Central Tribal University Act for the establishment of Sammakka Sarakka Central Tribal University in Telangana’s Mulugu, a district dominated by Scheduled Tribe populace. The promise has been made several times, even in a recent public meeting by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2023. 

After the bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh, under the 13th Schedule of the AP Reorganisation Act 2014, the government of India is supposed to “establish a Tribal University each in the State of Andhra Pradesh and in the State of Telangana”. While Andhra Pradesh got its university, Telangana hasn’t so far. Several protests were staged by ST groups, especially in Adilabad district, accusing the Union government of negligence. 

In its statement on October 5, the Union education ministry said the new university would “not only increase access and improve the quality of higher education in the state but also promote avenues of higher education by providing instructional and research facilities in tribal art, culture and traditional knowledge systems for the benefit of the tribal population in the state. This new university will also create additional capacity and will strive to remove regional imbalances”. 

However, the promise is still viewed with scepticism as it has been a long-pending one. 

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Turmeric board in Nizamabad

In March 2023, yellow boards appeared in Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency mocking BJP MP Arvind Dharmapuri, who had made the promise during the 2018 elections. “Turmeric board. This the board that our honourable MP has brought,” said the billboards. 

On October 1, 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in Telangana’s Mahabubnagar district that the Union government will establish a National Turmeric Board in Telangana. The establishment of the board for the welfare of turmeric farmers in Telangana was a promise made by BJP leaders post the state’s formation. Farmers had staged protests for years against the Union government's delay in setting up the board. Telangana farmers in Nizamabad district in 2021 had burnt copies of the BJP poll manifesto for the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls following the BJP's promise of setting up a Turmeric Board there. 

Telangana is the second largest producer of turmeric after its neighbouring state of Maharashtra. The board is expected to help the growth of turmeric farming and turmeric products in the country. While the announcement has come from the Union government, farm rights activists and opposition leaders have expressed scepticism considering the BJP’s track record. 

Kazipet coach factory in Hanumakonda district

Successive Telangana governments have been blaming the Union government for its failure to set up a rail coach factory at Kazipet in Hanumakonda district. The promise of setting up the factory was first made in 1980 under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. However since then, various Union governments have backtracked on it. The promise was also made in the 13th schedule, Section 93 of the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Act following the establishment of Telangana state but the BJP, which has been heading the Union government since, too has failed to deliver.

The BJP assured Telangana’s residents that the factory would be set up and also added the promise in its manifesto ahead of Telangana elections in 2014. However, a decade later, the promise remains unfulfilled.

In July 2023, BRS working president KT Rama Rao, or KTR, criticised PM Modi and asked him to apologise to Telangana voters for failing to fulfil the commitments to the people in the state under the Bifurcation Act. “PM Modi denied a rail coach factory to Telangana but established one costing Rs 21,000 crore in Gujarat,” he had said.  

Reopening cement plant in Adilabad district

In October 2023, ahead of a visit by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, several posters appeared in Adilabad asking for the reopening of the cement factory, under the Cement Corporation of India, which stopped operations in 1996 and was shut down in 2008. “Reopen Cement Corporation of India, Amit Shah ji, respond immediately,” the posters read. 

Disgruntled employees of the company also tried to stop the convoy of Amit Shah, who had made the promise of reopening the factory in 2018 while addressing a poll rally. However in May 2022, the CCI issued an online electronic bid through an Electronic Tendering System (ETS) invited for the appointment of valuers for the assessment of the assets required for the disposal of the plant, machinery with the plant’s structure, store and scrap and dismantling quarters of the township of Adilabad’s branch. The decision to do away with the Adilabad CCI unit’s assets brought about strong protests from the governing BRS. 

Several pleas to reopen the factory have fallen on deaf ears. KTR had written to the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industries in May 2022. He wrote to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in January of the same year with a similar demand. 

This report has been published as part of the joint NL-TNM Election Fund and is supported by hundreds of readers. Click here to power our ground reports.

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