ONGOLE: After five decades, the boundary of Prakasam district, which was formed by merging three areas from Nellore, Guntur and Kurnool districts, is set for a change with the State government’s decision to form 13 more districts in Andhra Pradesh.
Kandukur Assembly segment in Prakasam, which was part of the then Nellore district, will be merged with Nellore again. Addanki and Chirala Assembly segments, which were taken from Guntur district, and Parchur will be merged with the proposed Bapatla district.
Even after losing a significant number of mandals in the reorganisation, Prakasam district will be the largest district in the State with an area of 14,323 sq km. It will have eight Assembly segments under Ongole Lok Sabha Parliamentary Constituency with a population of 22.88 lakh (2011 census). It will have 38 mandals instead of the present 56.
The district was formed on February 2, 1970, by merging three different backward areas of Guntur, Kurnool and Nellore districts. On December 15, 1972, it was named after the freedom fighter and first Chief Minister of Andhra State Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu. Now, the district has an area of 17,626 sq km with nearly 35 lakh population.
Though ruling YSRC leaders welcomed the decision, a few of them expressed their reservations. The opposition parties questioned the decision and cited anomalies in the proposed reorganisation.
Kandukur is the revenue division headquarters with 24 mandals. It is also the biggest division after Madanapalle. Now, with the reorganisation, Kandukur is going to lose the revenue division status and it is going to merge with Kavali revenue division.
Remaining 19 mandals willl be with the Ongole division. Distance-wise, Kandukur people are going to face difficulties if it is merged with the Kavali division of Nellore district as they have to travel about 113 km to the district HQ, instead of 43 km to the present HQ, Ongole.
MLA M Mahidhar Reddy has already requested the Chief Minister, through Energy Minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy, to retain the Kandukur with Prakasam district.
Likewise, Addanki constituency is to be merged with the newly-formed Bapatla district and several people lament that they have to cover 75 km more to reach the district HQ.
MLA Gottipati Ravi Kumar and YSRCP constituency in charge APSAPNet Chairman Bachina Krishna Chaitanya also expressed reservation to the decision to merge the Addanki Assembly constituency with the newly-formed Bapatla district. On the other hand, people of western parts of Prakasam district, including Yerragondapalem, Giddalur, Markapur segments, have been demanding a separate Markapur district.
“It takes 4-5 hours of journey by bus to reach Ongole. Instead of keeping us in Prakasam district, it is better to announce a separate district with Markapur as HQ as it is centrally located to Yerragondapalem, Kanigiri, Darsi Giddalur constituencies. We demand that the government form Markapur district,” Markapur District Sadhana Samithi leader and former MLA M Ashok Reddy, Mallikarjuna Rao, MS Baig, K Narayana Reddy and others demanded.
TDP MLAs write to CM
TDP MLAs Yeluru Sambasiva Rao (Parchuru), Gottipati Ravi Kumar (Addanki) and D Sri Bala Veeranjaneya Swamy (Kondepi), in a joint open letter addressed to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, urged him to rethink on the decision to merge Kandukur with Nellore, Addanki and Parchur with Bapatla and continuing Giddalur, Yerragondapalem and Markapur segments in existing Prakasam district. They called the government’s decision “irrational” citing lack of administrative decentralisation.