Eleven Suggestions for All-round Development of New Seemandhra State - The New Indian Express

Eleven Suggestions for All-round Development of New Seemandhra State

Published: 14th March 2014 08:20 AM

Last Updated: 14th March 2014 08:52 AM

The bifurcation is now a reality and it is time that we can think, plan and execute the strategy for the development of Seemandhra.  

Seemandhra is blessed with several perennial rivers and has a large area of fertile arable land. Presence of natural minerals and recent discoveries of oil and natural gas fields offer opportunities to promote industrial development more actively. Seemandhra should think deeply as to how we need to move forward with the development of the state and here are 11 suggestions in this regard.

1. Give greatest priority to backward districts: The Second Administrative Reform Commission of Government of India in 2006 identified 250 most backward districts in India. Anantapur, Chittoor, Kadapa and Vizianagaram are included in this list.   The new Seemandhra government should give utmost priority to these districts and lift them to the level of the other 9 districts by 2024.

2. Give priority to promote spiritual pilgrimage: Seemandhra was ruled by Hindu Kings and they built some of the most famous temples. There also important Buddhist holy relic sites. There is a wonderful opportunity to promote spiritual pilgrimage through organised tourist packages and promote Seemandhra as India’s premier pilgrimage state.

3. Enlarge the development of Seemandhra seaports: Seemandhra has a long coastline and there is a tremendous opportunity to enhance the income of Seemandhra state by improving the coastal management e.g., improve the beaches, establish resorts, promote tourism through cruises and tourist boats, help the fisheries and aquaculture industry etc., There is a need to develop a comprehensive Seemandhra Seaport Development Strategy (SSDS) and elevate Seemandhra to the most important seaport state in the country.

4. Implement efforts to preserve the pristine environment and ecosystems: Seemandhra is blessed with several pristine lakes such as Kolleru lake and Cumbum lake. There are also beautiful valleys such as Araku Valley. Also, along all the major rivers in the state, there are beautiful ecosystems.  All efforts should be made to preserve these ecosystems and promote tourism.

5. Promote educational standards and improve academic institutions: One of the inherent strengths of Seemandhra since the establishment of the state of Andhra Pradesh is academic excellence. There are universities and private colleges in the region that produce a large number of degree holders each year in a range of academic fields. Despite these strengths, there is an urgent need to promote educational standards and improve academic institutions which can help label Seemandhra as the premier higher educational destination in India.

6. Emphasise innovations through establishment of Seemandhra Intellectual Trust (SIT): Because of the longtime tradition of promoting academic excellence in various institutions across Seemandhra, there is now a wealth of talent available in different fields. The fact that a significant number of the Indian IT professionals in the US are from Seemandhra is a clear evidence. There are also a number of scientists from Seemandhra working in various international organisations. There is a great opportunity to emphasise innovations through the establishment of a Seemandhra Intellectual Trust (SIT).

7. Stress greater agricultural productivity: Seemandhra is blessed with two wonderful deltas: Krishna and Godavari and wetlands all over the region where irrigation facilities were developed.  There is an urgent need to increase agricultural productivity in the rainfed regions of Seemandhra. There is a very large potential to increase the productivity of vegetables and fruits.  A comprehensive agricultural development strategy needs to developed and implemented through the establishment of a Seemandhra Agricultural Development Authority (SADA).

8. Promote industrial development more actively: A comprehensive strategy to promote industrial development across all the 13 districts in Seemandhra and long-term steps need to be implemented to provide rural employment by setting up rural industries.

9. Improve primary sanitation and enhance health standards: One major lacuna in all the 13 districts in Seemandhra is the lack of primary sanitation facilities and lack of awareness amongst the public, especially in the rural areas, on the need to promote primary sanitation.

The Seemandhra government needs to develop and implement a strategy to improve primary sanitation and enhance health standards in all the 13 districts.

10. Improve road infrastructure, enhance air and rail connections: There is an urgent need to improve the road and railway infrastructure, specially to connect the extensive rural areas with towns and cities.  There is also an urgent need to enhance the status of airports at Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada to international level to make the international travel needs of Seemandhra citizens living in India and abroad.  All these steps will promote investment and employment in Seemandhra.

11.  Take steps to enhance the status of more cities in Seemandhra to municipal corporation status: There are currently 11 municipal corporations in ten districts of Seemandhra.  Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Prakasam districts do not yet have any municipal corporations.  Appropriate steps should be taken to enhance the status of at least one city in these three districts to the status of Municipal Corporation.

The establishment of a new government in Seemandhra is likely to take at least six months and it is now the appropriate time to reflect on how to take Seemandhra forward, start a statewide discussion and influence the political agenda.

(The author is Editor-in-Chief, Weather and Climate Extremes (Elsevier) and Senior Consultant, World Bank)

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