Hyderabad is not a free zone now!

In a significant victory for groups fighting for separate statehood to Telangana, President Pratibha Patil on Friday deleted clause 14(f) from the presidential order making Hyderabad a free zone for recruitment to government departments.

President Patil, on the recommendation of the central cabinet, deleted the clause from Presidential Order 1975. Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram also issued a notification to this effect.

The deletion of the controversial clause means Hyderabad will now be treated as part of VIth zone along with five other districts of Telangana. Following the deletion of the clause, 70 per cent of gazetted and 85 per cent of non-gazetted posts in the zone will be filled with locals while the remaining posts will be open to others.

The Andhra Pradesh capital was so far considered a free zone. Telangana groups claim that candidates from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions were given priority in recruitments to all departments, especially in the police force.

While Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and leaders, cutting across party lines, hailed the central government’s move to delete the clause, pro-Telangana groups demanded that the government postpone the written test for recruitment of sub-inspectors of police scheduled to be held on Saturday and Sunday.

The government said it would go ahead with the test while Telangana students groups have threatened to disrupt it. Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) convenor M. Kodandaram has demanded that the government postpones the test for one month so that candidates from Telangana get their due share in the jobs.

Kodandaram said the deletion of the clause was a victory of the people of Telangana, especially students.

Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy said the written test for sub-inspectors would be held as scheduled. She asked candidates to write the test without any fear.

In Delhi, Chidambaram told reporters that the decision to delete the clause was taken on the basis of a resolution passed by Andhra Pradesh assembly last year. He said the chief minister also informed the centre that there is a consensus in the state on the issue.(IANS)

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