AP Govt’s Proposal On New Districts Bereft Of Basic Geographic Sense: HRF

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) is of the view that the AP government’s proposal to carve out 13 new districts makes no administrative or rational sense. The formation of smaller districts is a laudable though long delayed exercise. However, it must be carried out after wide-ranging and meaningful public discussion. Unfortunately, there has been neither proper application of mind nor democratic consultation.

The exercise seems to have been done in a very cavalier manner and is bereft of basic geographic sense. If gone through, it will result in several places across the State either remaining at considerable distances from the proposed district headquarters or the distance even increasing further than before! For example, the newly proposed Alluri Sitharama Raju district with Paderu as headquarters includes the Assembly segment of Rampachodavaram. This would render Yetapaka, a revenue divisional headquarters in the Rampachodavaram constituency, 277 km from Paderu. The travel time taken would be well over seven hours! Likewise, most mandals in Rampachodavaram like Kunavaram, VR Puram, Devipatnam and Maredumilli, would be more than 240 km from the district headquarters.

The situation in several places in the Non-Scheduled region is no better. In Prakasam district, mandals in the purview of Markapuram division will be more than140 km from Ongole, the district HQ. It would take three hours to reach the district headquarters from places like Giddalur and Yerragondapalem. Inexplicably, the divisional HQ of Kandukur, which is about 45 km from Ongole, has been included in Nellore district, which makes it more than double the existing distance, i.e. 112 km from Nellore. Addanki, which is just 39 km from Ongole in Prakasam district, is now to be in Bapatla district with the distance doubled! Holagunda mandal in Kurnool district and Amarapuram and Agali to Puttaparthy in the proposed Satya Sai district, as well as Kukunoor in Eluru district are over 110 km from their respective district headquarters. A perusal of the preliminary notification issued by the government contains several such anomalies. What is the point of creating new districts when distances remain considerable? The formation of new districts in this manner will in no way facilitate the stated objective of better administration.

Re-organising of districts with Parliamentary constituencies as criteria is fundamentally flawed. HRF if of the opinion that given the huge size of existing districts, each must be carved out into at least three new districts. We reiterate what we stated in July 2020 when the proposal first came up for serious consideration:

“HRF is of the view that most, if not all existing districts in the State ought to be re-organised into at least three new districts each. Districts like Ananthapuramu, the largest in the State and East Godavari, can be re-organised into four districts each. This trifurcation of existing districts would mean that the State will have 39 or 40 districts. It would do well to remember that Tamil Nadu, which has 38 districts within a geographical spread of 130,058 square km, is less than AP’s area of 160,205 sq. km. Odisha with an area of 155,707 sq. km has 30 districts while Telangana reorganised districts in 2016 carving out 33 districts from 10. Telangana’s geographical spread is less than AP at 112,077 sq. km. In the choosing of new district headquarters, preference must be accorded to backward regions also keeping in mind proximity and geographical contiguity.”

“With respect to the Fifth Schedule region, HRF feels that each of the existing Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) headquarters can be constituted into a new district. This would mean Seethampeta in Srikakulam district, Parvathipuram in Vizianagaram, Paderu in Visakhapatnam district, Rampachodavaram in East Godavari, Kota Ramchandrapuram (located in Buttaigudem mandal) in West Godavari district and the recently created Chintur ITDA in erstwhile Khammam district. Chintur district can include the mandals of Velerpadu and Kukkunur across the Godavari River as well. These new districts in the Fifth Schedule region can be named after legendary Adivasi personalities like Gantam Dora, Tammanna Dora.”

VS Krishna & A Chandrasekhar
HRF AP&TS Coordination Committee members


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