October 6, 2016 1:39:00 am
WITH 3 LAKH families populating each district, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti government is finalising plans to break up the existing 10 districts into 31 smaller ones for easy administration.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao initially proposed to create 17 new districts, then agreed to add four more amid demands and pressure from TRS MLAs and representatives. KCR says smaller districts are easier to administer and allow effective delivery of benefits to people. He is yet to take a decision, however, on demands from tribals of Adilabad for a separate tribal district, and temple town Bhadrachalam in Khammam.
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Once the process of demarcating new districts started in August, it became a game of “owning” districts among TRS ministers, MLAs and local leaders as hundreds of representations poured in demanding that their particular area be declared a district.
The first list of 17 new districts had not included Sircilla, an assembly constituency in Karimnagar district represented by KCR’s son K T Rama Rao who is minister for IT and municipal administration. Sircilla is one of the four additions made last week.
Another is Gadwal that is now part of Medak district. Forming the new district is being seen as a move to counter the clout of Congress leader D K Aruna, a former minister who was MLA from Gadwal, while carving Janagoan as a district out of Nalgonda is aimed at restricting the clout of Congress stalwart Ponnala Lakshmaiah, as the new districts will change the demarcation of the two Congress MLAs’ constituencies. The fourth new addition is Asifabad, now in Adilabad district, following pressure from tribal organisations and Left parties.
“There is no doubt that smaller districts can be administered better,” said K Keshava Rao, head of a high-powered committee for creation of the new districts. “With the state divided into 31 districts, each will have a minimum population of 3 lakh families. Such small numbers can be managed effectively, resources spread evenly and beneficiaries of government schemes are easily identified.”
The size of some of the districts will be very small considering that Mahbunagar alone is being split into four — Mahbubnagar, Nagarkurnool, Wanaparthy and Gadwal.
“During the formation of mandals and districts in the past, some lapses and injustices were done,” Keshava rao said. “We are setting all that right now. The aim is to ensure that people are not unhappy with the new boundaries. If there is a legitimate demand, we will look into it and consider declaring a new district.”
The government will post junior IAS and IPS officers as district collectors and superintendents of police, with a senior IAS officer overseeing three districts each. A senior IPS officer will oversee three or four districts each. Telangana is the 12th largest state in the country with a population of over 3.60 crore. A notification regarding demarcation and formation of new districts is likely to be issued just before Dussehra.
Besides handling pressure from TRS leaders and locals, KCR had to handle the tricky issue of naming the new districts, mostly after late political leaders. When it was proposed that a new district created out of Ranga Reddy be named Anantagiri, the MIM protested. MIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi want the name retained as Vikarabad, now a town was named after the Paigah noble Vicar-ul-Umra.
“With the inclusion of Moinabad and two other mandals, the new Shamshabad district is sought to be renamed Ranga Reddy district. On the other hand, there is a move to rename Vikarabad as Anantagiri district. If there is no new district named Shamshabad or Vikarabad, it would send a wrong message to the minority community,” Owaisi wrote in a letter to the CM. The government gave up the idea and has decided to retain Vikarabad as the name of the new district.
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