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Centre braces for Srikrishna report

Aarti Dhar

Manmohan confers with Cabinet colleagues

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday held a meeting with senior Cabinet colleagues ahead of the Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee submitting its report on Telangana. The panel's term ends on Friday.

The meeting, attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, discussed the options available and the political fall-out in case the demand for a separate State was accepted, official sources said.

It also discussed the security arrangements for Andhra Pradesh to meet any law and order situation. The Centre has sent 5,000 security personnel to the State to deal with any emergency.

The five-member committee led by Justice Srikrishna is likely to suggest “several options with their pros and cons'' on the statehood issue. Justice Srikrishna, a former Supreme Court judge, had on Tuesday expressed the hope that the report would bring about a permanent solution to the issue relating to bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

He had said the committee would give an “impartial and professional” report that would seek to achieve the “highest satisfaction of the maximum number of people.”

The Congress had indicated that it was not against “smaller States'' including Telangana but would take a final view after it examined the report. “The party's stand on the issue is clear, it supports smaller States including Telangana,'' Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed told journalists here.

The committee was constituted by the Centre on February 3 to look into the demands for the creation of a separate State as well as keeping Andhra Pradesh united.

Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni met Mr. Chidambaram and discussed the advisory issued by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) asking news channels to be “sensitive'' while covering the release of the report.

The self-regulatory body has asked all editors, who are members of the NBA, to ensure that telecast of any news relating to it is not sensational, inflammatory or provocative.

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