Andhra Pradesh

After 46 years, Ongole remains backward

Ongole remains largely neglected by successive governments in spite of having all the factors for development. —photo: Kommuri Srinivas  

rakasam district endowed with a coastline of over 100 km has all the elements to leapfrog in economic growth.

Yet, it remains the most backward district even after 46 years of its formation by merging the backward parts of Kurnool district in Rayalaseema with equally backward parts in Guntur and Nellore districts for more focussed approach to spur development, felt the elite section of society on the eve of the District Formation Day scheduled on Tuesday.

The Ongole district formed in 1970 was renamed in 1972 after the first Chief Minister of united Andhra Pradesh, Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu, formed it in 1953 to create the first linguistic State in the country.

The district remained third most backward in united Andhra Pradesh after Adilabad and Mahabubnagar. But, it didn’t figure in the list of backward districts for Special Development Package under the State Reorganisation Act, laments Zilla Parishad chairman Edara Haribabu.

The Central and State governments should take corrective steps immediately and help the district shed the backwardness tag, he adds, gearing up to draw the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on the eve of budget sessions of the Parliament and the State Assembly, respectively.

The Union and State governments made a slew of promises to unleash the growth potential of the district such as setting up the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) Donakonda industrial city. None of the projects have taken off, says Prakasam district Development Forum president Ch. Ranga Rao.

Though the State Cabinet had recommended to the Centre to set up the second major port sanctioned for the State at Ramayapatnam, an influential Congress leader had taken it to Duggirajapatnam, close to the avian paradise of Pulicat lake, despite concerns expressed by environmentalists and security concerns expressed by the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, adds Communist Party of India, Prakasam district secretary K. Aruna, who spearheaded a protracted struggle to see that the Central port is located in Prakasam district.

‘No sign of prestigious institutes’

Though the district had been left out in the first list of higher education institutions announced by the Centre, the Chief Minister made amends by announcing, among other institutes, a Veterinary University and University of Mines and Mineral Sciences.

The State Cabinet went ahead and named the proposed Indian Institute of Information Technology after former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

“'There is no sign of grounding these prestigious educational institutions”, says Andhra Pradesh Students and Youth Joint Action Committee State convenor Rayapatti Jagadeesh.

Prakasam district is the only one district without a State university in Navya Andhra, adds Students Federation of India city unit secretary P. Ram Babu.

The Veligonda irrigation project, a longstanding demand of Prakasam people to find a permanent solution to the fluoride problem remained a distant dream despite change of governments, said CPI (M) district secretary P. Anjaneyulu, while pressing for Bundlekhand-like package for development of the drought-prone district.

The district didn’t figure in the list of backward districts for Special Development Package under the State Reorganisation Act

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Printable version | May 4, 2021 9:19:32 PM |

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