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Wednesday, August 24, 2016
MINORITY REPORT - More districts to hasten growth in backward areas Syed Amin Jafri
The decks are cleared for forma tion of new districts with the all-party meeting on Saturday endorsing Telangana government's decision to increase the number of districts to hasten the growth and development of backward areas in the state.
This move to reorganize the districts comes almost 32 years after the then government in united AP had taken the revolutionary step to replace taluks with more compact units known as mandals to bring the administration closer to people.
To facilitate the formation of mandals, the AP Districts (Formation) Act, 1974, was amended through Act 14 of 1985 to abolish the taluks and firkas and replace them with mandals. The AP Districts (Formation) Rules 1984 were notified, spelling out the guidelines and procedure for the formation of new districts, revenue divisions and revenue mandals.
Prior to 1984-85, a five-tier revenue administrative set-up consisting of district, revenue division, taluk, firka and revenue village was in vogue. It was replaced by a fourtier system comprising district, revenue division, revenue mandal and revenue village as units. Districts (zillas) were formed for the first time in Telangana in 1865 during the reign of the fifth Nizam Afzal-ud-Daula in the erstwhile Hyderabad state.
There were only eight districts in Telangana till 1930s. Baghat (Hyderabad) district was created in the late 1930s by bifurcating Atraf-eBalda district. After the police action in 1948, Hyderabad district was formed by merging Baghat and Atraf-e-Balda.Khammam district was carved out of Warangal in 1953 and Bhadrachalam division was added to Khammam in 1959 after the formation of then Andhra PradeshState in 1956.
Thus, Telangana comprised 9 districts till August 1978, when Hyderabad district was bifurcated into Hyderabad (urban) and Hyderabad (rural) districts during Dr Marri Channa Reddy's regime. Hyderabad (rural) was named as Rangareddy district, after late K V Ranga Reddy, the former deputy chief minister of AP.
Status quo has prevailed for the last 38 years with no new district being formed in Telangana though more revenue divisions were created after the taluks were reorganized into revenue mandals in 198485. The then government under N T Rama Rao's stewardship created the mandals in place of taluks and firkas in the entire AP. The 110 taluks in Telangana region were replaced with 459 revenue mandals.
The entire exercise of formation of mandals was taken up under the provisions of AP Districts (Formation) Act and Rules and apart from a committee of officials, a cabinet sub-committee was formed to oversee the entire exercise from the issue of draft notifica tions to the final notifi cations.
The formation of mandals was challenged in the HC but was upheld in successive judgements. Before 1981, the 10 districts of Telangana had 28 revenue divisions and the number has since gone up to 42 with the formation of new divisions in the districts. The 10,434 revenue villages come under the 459 revenue mandals in the state.
In fulfilment of the poll promise of TRS to form new districts, the state government appointed an official committee headed by the state chief secretary to draw up the proposals for the formation of new districts. A cabinet sub-committee was also formed to elicit the opinions of state-holders. After the All-party meeting, the government is issuing the draft notification for the formation of a total of 27 districts, 57 revenue divisions and 533 revenue mandals in place of the existing 10 districts, 42 revenue divisions and 459 revenue mandals.
Chief minister KCR has asserted that reorganization of districts, revenue divisions and mandals is being done in a transparent manner by following the provisions of the Districts (Formation) Act and the guidelines and procedure stipulated under the Districts (Formation) Rules.
All related issues pertaining to revenue administration, functioning of other departments, the lower courts, panchayat raj and urban local bodies are being tackled simultaneously. After the publication of preliminary notification, the draft proposals will be displayed at village chavidi, offices of gram panchayat, mandal parishads, zilla parishads and municipal wards, municipal offices and revenue divisional officer, sub-collectorassistant collector and tahsildar's offices (mandal revenue offices) for stakeholders to convey objections and suggestions within 30 days.
After considering the objections and suggestions, the government will issue final notification, paving the way for new districts to come into being by Dasara (October 11).