All-party meet to discuss separate `Balaji district' today

TIRUPATI, JULY 24. Tirupati finds itself at the centre of attention as local leaders here prepare to discuss the formation of a separate district, with the temple town as headquarters, at a meeting to be held here on Sunday. Early this month, the town took centre-stage, with Rayalaseema activists converging here to forward their demand for Statehood, with Tirupati possibly as the State Capital, in the event of the formation of separate Telangana.

The dominant view

The view that is now emerging is that it was time the rather unwieldy Chittoor district, comprising 65 mandals spanning Sathyavedu on the Tamil Nadu border to Kuppam on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, be bifurcated and a separate `Balaji district' be carved out, with Tirupati as the headquarters.

The general feeling among leaders of all parties is that though Chittoor town is the district headquarters, it is being increasingly overshadowed by Tirupati, which seems to be the de facto district headquarters. Tirupati has been a hub of activity, basking in the glory as a premier temple town, and the TTD has been playing a catalytic role in its development.

But the town has suffered a major setback as it is the district headquarters. The district offices and the district Court are located in Chittoor town, and, because of this peculiar situation, both Tirupati and Chittoor have failed to develop fully. It is against this background that leaders of political parties are meeting.

Not a new proposal

The proposal not new; it has been around for the past two decades. It was mooted when the former Chief Minister; N. Janardhan Reddy, was Revenue Minister. The idea was to bifurcate Naidupet and Venkatagiri from the Nellore district, and Kodur and Rajampet from the Cuddapah district, and annexe them to the proposed Balaji district. At that time, it was also thought that the eastern parts of the present Chittoor district could be given to the proposed district, and the rest of the district left undisturbed. The meeting is expected to study these aspects before finalising a plan of action to get the project under way.

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