After the Telangana government constituted a high-power committee and agreed to create four new districts following public demand, the state now faces a new problem.
A fresh round of protests has begun across the state with many demanding their own districts and revenue divisions. Sloganeering protesters have been blocking roads, staging 'dharnas' and taking out rallies.
According to reports, the demands for new districts are pouring in from at least half a dozen towns in the state such as Miryalaguda, Devarakonda, Narayanpet, Mulugu, Sathupally and Husnabad.
In Mulugu, hundreds of activists on Thursday pelted stones at buses and blocked the National Highway in Warangal, until the police resorted to a lathicharge to disperse the crowd.
The Hindu reported:
Over 6,000 people squatted on the NH 163 at Mulug town demanding creation of Sammakka Saralamma district. The Congress party leaders who took out rallies and staged dharna on NH 163 at Mulug town staged a mock funeral of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and Tribal Welfare Minister A Chandulal with tonsured heads. The police arrested more than 60 protestors and they were let off later.
The temple town of Bhadrachalam also witnessed protests as the constituency's MLA from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sunnam Rajaiah began an indefinite fast for a separate district.
Bhadrachalam was one of the earliest places where the protest for a new district to be carved out of the present Khammam district began.
Earlier this week, the state government conceded to large scale protests and agreed to create Jangaon district in Warangal, Sircilla in Karimnagar, Gadwal in Mahabubnagar and Asifabad in Adilabad.
However, this has resulted in smaller movements that were spread across the state, upping the ante.
The state government on September 28 last year, constituted a committee under the chairmanship of chief secretary Rajiv Sharma to recommend the reorganisation of administrative units which include districts, revenue divisions and revenue mandals in the state.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said that the new districts were being created for administrative convenience and better governance.
Claiming that smaller districts made it easy for the government to ensure better implementation of welfare schemes, he stated that no section of the people would be unhappy as he did not mind creating a few extra districts.
After almost a year of talks and discussions, the state issued a draft notification in September this year for creating 17 new districts besides the existing 10, and sought people's suggestions.
The public reaction resulted in the addition of four more districts. However, the protests have only increased since then, while the state is reluctant to have more than 31 districts.
MLAs are also under pressure from their constituencies with many sending in their resignations including the TRS' own MLA from Narayanpet in Mahbubnagar district S Rajender Reddy.
Even the Chief Minister's son and IT Minister KT Rama Rao is said to have lobbied for the Sircilla district, which is his constituency, under public pressure.
Senior leaders like TPCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy met Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma and submitted a petition requesting the government to make Huzurnagar in Nalgonda district a Revenue division.
Congress MLA from Gadwal DK Aruna also sent her resignation to KCR, requesting him to either create a new district or forward the resignation to Speaker S Madhusudana Chary
"The CM's announcement in favour of four new districts Sircilla, Janagaon, Gadwal and Asifabad has whetted the appetite for more and the local leaders have started a second round of agitation," a TRS leader told the Times of India.
Meanwhile, the Hyderabad High Court, on Thursday, refused to stay the preliminary notification issued by the Telangana government on the formation of two new districts, Bhupalapally district in Warangal and Bhadradri district in Khammam, by reorganizing revenue divisions and mandals located in scheduled areas.
The Deccan Chronicle reported:
(The petitioners) contended that the state government has no power to reorganise the areas defined as Agency areas under 5th Schedule of the Constitution. They said that only the Governor has the power to reorganize or form new mandals and districts in Scheduled areas.
However, the court is reported to have made it clear that it is not inclined to pass an interim order prohibiting the formation of new districts at this stage and posted the case to October 13, when the courts would re-open after Dasara.