The Andhra Pradesh government has issued draft notifications on January 26 to reorganise the districts in the state, carving out 26 districts from the existing 13 districts. The newly-created districts include NTR district with its headquarters at Vijayawada, Sri Satyasai district headquartered at Puttaparthi, Annamayya district headquartered at Rayachoty, and Sri Balaji district with its headquarters at Tirupati. While the existing 13 districts will retain their names, the administrative headquarters of West Godavari district will be shifted from Eluru to Bhimavaram. The process of reorganisation of districts is expected to be completed by Ugadi.
The remaining newly created districts include Anakapalli (headquarters at Anakapalli), Kakinada (Kakinada), Konaseema (Amalapuram), Eluru (Eluru), Bapatla (Bapatla), Palnadu (Narasaraopeta) and Nandyal (Nandyal). Two districts named Manyam district (carved out of Vizianagaram headquarters at Parvathipuram) and Alluri Sitharama Raju district (comprising the Araku valley region with headquarters at Paderu) have also been created.
East Godavari district will be effectively split into three districts (East Godavari, Kakinada and Konaseema), West Godavari into two (West Godavari and Eluru), Krishna into two (Krishna and NTR), Guntur into three (Guntur, Bapatla, Palnadu), Kurnool into two (Kurnool and Nandyal), Anantapur into two (Anantapur and Sri Satyasai), and Chittoor into two (Chittoor and Sri Balaji).
According to the draft notifications published on January 26, a few new revenue divisions have also been proposed as part of the administrative restructuring â€” Bobbili in Vizianagaram, Bheemunipatnam in Visakhapatnam, Bhimavaram in West Godavari, Nandigama and Tiruvuru under Vijayawada or NTR district, Bapatla and Chirala under Bapatla district, Podili in Prakasam, Dhone and Atmakur in Nandyal, Palamaneru in Chittoor, as well as Puttaparthi and Rayachoty.
The Manyam district will include Palakonda and Parvathipuram revenue divisions, while the Alluri Sitharama Raju district will include Paderu and Rampachodavaram.
When the reorganisation of districts was proposed, tribal activists had objected to the division of the Agency areas or ITDAs (Integrated Tribal Development Agencies) into multiple districts, warning that this could lead to inconvenience for tribal populations and dilute their rights. They had instead suggested that each ITDA be converted into a district, or into an autonomous district council under the sixth schedule of the Constitution.
Ahead of the 2019 Assembly elections, the YSRCP had promised to create new districts based on the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state. In July 2020, the state Cabinet approved the formation of a committee headed by the Chief Secretary to work on the reorganisation of the districts in the state.
The committee was tasked with studying the optimal way to reorganise the districts while optimising human resources and infrastructure, while also minimising the financial burden on the state. The move was intended to decentralise governance, stating that large districts made it difficult for district collectors to monitor the implementation of schemes and stay accessible for people.
While the reorganisation of districts was to be completed by March 2021, it was delayed due to several reasons. The committee set up for the purpose had faced difficulties especially in distribution of resources and drawing the borders of the new districts, according to reports.
Recently, the state government announced plans to build an airport in every district of the state. However, it was unclear whether the new airports have been proposed in the existing 13 districts or the new districts as well.