Palnadu aspires for separate district status
With the location of Nagarjuna Konda, the world famous Buddhist site in its lap as an epitome of peace, the Palnadu region presents a picture of contrast as a hotbed of violence patronised by faction lords and the Maoists.
Gurazala: With the location of Nagarjuna Konda, the world famous Buddhist site in its lap as an epitome of peace, the Palnadu region presents a picture of contrast as a hotbed of violence patronised by faction lords and the Maoists.
The region, dotted with an expanse of hill ranges and barren lands reflecting backwardness, poverty and deprivation, is a paradox of sorts in Guntur district which boasts of having prosperous delta region on the other side.
Denial of accessibility to administration has cropped up the demand for creation of a separate district with Palnadu as the headquarters. It is better and easy to travel to Hyderabad for people from Macharla, 200 km away, rather than coming to Guntur, the district headquarters. The area quite often hits the headlines for the wrong reasons as a prospective market for sale of kidneys.
Palnadu, once an Andhra kingdom ruled by Bramha Naidu of Haihaya dynasty, has been a victim of skewed growth. The region raises mirchi as a principal crop but mirchi yard has been located at Guntur forcing the growers to transport their produce to the market more than 150 km away.
Similarly, the area is fertile for cotton crop but the textile and ginning industries were established on the other side close to Guntur, depriving locals of job opportunities. Palnadu is rich in mineral deposits, lime and granite but craving for industrial growth.
Palnadu region is inhabited mostly by Lambada thandas and the other weaker sections in remote areas without access to education and health services even as the rich land owners and traders made their living in the delta areas like Tenali, Bapatla and the other areas surrounding Guntur city. A revenue division was set up with Gurajala as headquarter in Palnadu sometime back.
Former Minister D Manikya Varaprasad lamented that the revenue division remains in the area without supporting government departments like panchayat raj, irrigation, agriculture and roads and buildings, indicating official apathy.
Adilakshmi, a social activist from the region, has said school dropout rate is alarmingly high for want of schools within the reach. The trend is more discernible in the case of girls who have been forced to drop out from schools which were 10 to 12 km away from their habitations. Usually, girls are willing to go to schools by bicycles but their parents view it as risky, Adilakshmi added.
Ramapuram thanda, inhabited by people from Lambada community, serves as a classic case of deprivation of all sorts. ANM (health worker) visits once in a week. The thanda has no school and health centre either. The APSRTC operates three bus services a day.
If anyone misses the bus, it will become very difficult to access health and the other emergency available away in the urban areas. Electricity is still failing to reach Yerraveni chenchu colony, thanks to the lack of coordination between forest and electricity department which let the proposal to draw power lines to the village run into rough weather.
Manikya Varaprasad hopes to see some positive signs of development if industries are promoted by harnessing the mineral resources available in the region. Nagarjuna Konda could also spur growth if developed as a tourist spot, he added.