Politicians and vested interests from south coastal Andhra are once again out to mar the development prospects of north Andhra. North Andhra has been given a raw deal in development when compared to south coastal districts during the last 60 years in the unified state, according to member National Human Rights Commission K.S. Chalam.
North Andhra, comprising of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts, has been clubbed with coastal Andhra Pradesh for all practical purposes, but has been neglected when it came to development. Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra were being referred to as ‘Seemandhra’ but no one was talking of the development of the backward north Andhra, Prof. Chalam told a media conference here on Thursday.
Barring Visakhapatnam city, which was developed mostly during the British time due to its locational advantages, Visakhapatnam district, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts have remained backward. He said that more than half of AP coastline was in north Andhra and the Eastern Ghats have rich forest wealth. Referring to the contention of the politicians of south coastal districts, Prof. Chalam recalled that when Kurnool was the capital of Andhra Pradesh, people of north Andhra had to travel all the way there for three years. The infrastructure, air and rail connectivity make Vizag the first and best choice as capital of Seemandhra.
Though Andhra University was among the first to set up a Computer Science Department in the country, Hyderabad was made an IT hub, ignoring Visakhapatnam. He, however, said even if Vizag was made capital, equitable development of all regions was necessary to avoid the fallacy of developing the capital alone as was done in the case of Hyderabad for five decades. Praja Spandana president C.S. Rao said that Visakhapatnam MP and Union Minister D. Purandeswari had forgotten her promise for striving for the establishment of a railway zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam and had failed to do anything for Vizag during the last four years. It was unfortunate that she was now talking on development of Vijayawada.