The Andhra Pradesh government issued draft notifications on Wednesday for carving out 13 new districts out of the existing 13, taking the total to 26. “The government, in the interest of better administration and development of the areas concerned, proposes to form a new district under Section 3 (5) of the AP Districts (Formation) Act, 1974,” Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma said in the draft notification, issued separately for each district.
He invited objections and suggestions from the citizens residing within the district, who are likely to be affected, for being taken into consideration within 30 days. In his Republic Day address, Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan referred to the creation of new districts and said they would be in place by this Telugu New Year’s Day Ugadi (falling on April 2).
“For the delivery of more efficient services to people and for good governance, we will be creating 13 more districts in the state on the auspicious day of Ugadi. Two districts will be exclusively for tribal population,” the Governor said in his address. The state has 25 Lok Sabha constituencies and each is supposed to be made a revenue district. However, with its size being too large and spread over many districts, the tribal-dominated Araku Lok Sabha constituency is being split into two new districts.
The two new tribal districts will be Manyam, with headquarters in Parvathipuram, and Alluri Sitarama Raju, named after the legendary Telugu freedom fighter with headquarters in Paderu. The other new districts are Anakapalli (out of the existing Visakhapatnam district), Konaseema and Kakinada (out of East Godavari), Eluru (out of West Godavari), NTR (out of Krishna), Bapatla and Palnadu (out of Guntur), Nandyal (out of Kurnool), Sri Satya Sai (out of Anantapuramu), Annamayya (out of Kadapa) and Sri Balaji (out of Chittoor).
The headquarters of the existing East Godavari district is being shifted to Rajamahendravaram and that of West Godavari to Bhimavaram. Though he was born in the other part of Krishna district, falling under the Machilipatnam Lok Sabha constituency, the government chose to name the newly created district (spread over Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency) after the Telugu legend N T Rama Rao (NTR).
In line with its 2019 election-eve promise, the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government initiated the districts reorganisation process in August 2020 but the exercise could not go ahead because of the impending Census operations and the ban on redrawing the geographical boundaries.But, with the Government of India now easing the ban till July, the state government is seeking to fast-track the new districts formation.
Accordingly, a Cabinet note was electronically circulated to the ministers on Tuesday and their approval obtained. Simultaneously, the government sent the draft proposals to all district Collectors, with a direction that they send their views by return mail.
On Tuesday afternoon, Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma conducted a videoconference with the district Collectors and obtained their consent for the districts reorganisation. After midnight on Tuesday, the government started issuing the draft notifications for the new districts and they were uploaded on the web portal early Wednesday.
Meanwhile, AP Revenue Services Association president and leader of the PRC Struggle Committee Bopparaju Venkateswarlu said “All the employees who are supposed to carry out the districts reorganisation process are now in agitation (over the pay revision). Barring the IAS officers, everyone will soon be on strike. The government should not exert pressure on us to get things done.” He appealed to the government not to create an atmosphere of confrontation by bringing pressure on the districts reorganisation. The Struggle Committee, comprising four employees associations and Joint Action Committees, is on agitation mode, miffed with the state government’s pay revision orders and has served a strike notice. The committee has announced that the employees would go on strike indefinitely from February 7 demanding, among other things, immediate withdrawal of the pay revision orders issued on January 17.