Centre says ‘no’ to second capital in South India

Hyderabad: Union minister of state for home affairs Nityanand makes a statement in Rajya Sabha; BJP senior leader Ch Vidyasagar Rao suggests Hyderabad as second capital early this month; KCR also supported Hyd as second capital in Jan 2018

Putting rest to speculations that Hyderabad will be the second capital of India, the Centre, on Wednesday, made it clear that there was no such proposal to have a second capital in South India.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, informed Rajya Sabha that the Centre was not considering it necessary to have a second capital for the country in South India. Congress Rajya Sabha member KVP Ramachandra Rao raised this issue in the Upper House on Thursday to which the minister replied in the negative.

The speculations over Hyderabad being made second capital of India gained momentum after the current national capital New Delhi turned into a “gas chamber” due to its dangerous levels of pollution.

The severe pollution in Delhi has triggered a debate on shifting the national capital to another location or form a second capital for the country in some other state, especially down south. The demand to make Hyderabad as the second capital came to centre stage after senior BJP leader and former Maharashtra governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao mooted the proposal.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has supported the proposal to make Hyderabad the country’s second capital. At a conference in the city in January 2018, KCR said that he would have no objection if Hyderabad were made the second capital, as proposed by Dr BR Ambedkar. “If India comes here, like (in) Delhi, I have no objection,” KCR had remarked, triggering a big debate on the pros and cons of Hyderabad as the second capital.

The proposal to make Hyderabad the second capital of the country was first put forward by BR Ambedkar in his book, ‘Thoughts on Linguistic States’ published in 1955. In Chapter 11 of the book, Ambedkar stressed the need for making Hyderabad as the second capital to bridge the perceived North-South divide in the country.

The Congress was quick to oppose KCR’s proposal then. “He (KCR) vehemently opposed the proposal to make Hyderabad as the country’s second capital during the statehood movement. It’s bizarre that KCR, who had opposed Union Territory status for Hyderabad during the statehood movement, is himself mooting the idea of the second capital now. Such move would cause damage to Telangana as it would lead to the transformation of Hyderabad into a Union Territory,” TPCC chief official spokesperson Dasoju Sravan had said.

However, the debate over Hyderabad as second capital died down later.

Rajya Savha Doc

The issue has come to centre stage yet again with raging debates on social media platforms over the need to shift the capital from New Delhi due to pollution. The latter had forced the closure of schools in the UT and affected healthy life.

Early this month, Ch Vidyasagar Rao heated this debate further (see inset) by stating that Hyderabad had all the qualifications required to become the second capital of India as raised by Ambedkar.

Social media is now abuzz with posts on how Hyderabad is better qualified to become the second capital, compared to any other city. The advantages being cited for Hyderabad are:

Being considerably away from any international borders and any neighbouring nations, Hyderabad is the best choice as an additional national capital. The city cannot be easily reached by any country, especially Pakistan and China, which are considered main rivals to India. That apart, the Centre maintains many army battalions and forces in this city, particularly in Secunderabad.

Being almost bang in the centre of India, Hyderabad can be easily reached by people from various parts of the country. Delhi is far away for people in South India.

The Centre holds substantial government lands in this city. It will prove to be a helping feature if the city is made the country’s second capital.

Having been ruled by Central Asian rules for years, Hyderabad has a cosmopolitan culture, enabling every person in the country to feel at home. It is why people from various parts of the country quickly settle in this city. A melting pot of different cultures, traditions, customs, festivals, food habits, dressing styles, and languages, Hyderabad is unique in the country.

Apart from its geographical advantages, the city has normal weather conditions throughout the year. The Rashtrapathi Bhavan in Secunderabad has been hosting Presidents during their winter sojourns. Administration from Delhi becomes somewhat difficult during the winter, with temperatures in North India dipping drastically. During this time, the government can be best run from Hyderabad.

As far as natural disasters are considered, Hyderabad is a safe place to live. No tsunamis, no typhoons, no significant earthquakes, no floods, no droughts and other devastating human-made and natural disasters affect the city. Even city traffic, though heavy, has not yet grown to such levels as to be a headache on the pollution front, compared to other bustling metros.

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