Visakhapatnam district General information
Visakhapatnam District is one of the North Eastern Coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and it lies between 17o - 15' and 18o-32' Northern latitude and 18o - 54' and 83o - 30' in Eastern longitude. It is bounded on the North partly by the Orissa State and partly by Vizianagaram District, on the South by East Godavari District, on the West by Orissa State and on the East by Bay of Bengal.
Inscriptions indicate that the District was originally a part of Kalinga Kingdom subsequently conquered by the Eastern Chalukyas in the 7th Century, A.D. who ruled over it with their Head Quarters at Vengi. This District was also under the occupation of various rulers such as the Reddy Rajahs of Kondaveedu, the Gajapathis of Orissa, the Nawabs of Golkonda and the Moghal Emperor Aurangazeb through a Subedar. This territory passed on to French occupation in view of succession dispute among Andhra Kings and finally it came under the British Reign. There were no geographical graftings till 1936 in which year, consequent on the formation of Orissa State the Taluks namely Bissiom, Cuttack, Jayapore, Koraput, Malkanagiri, Naurangapur, Pottangi and Ryagada in their entirety and parts of Gunpur, Paduva and Parvathipur Taluks were transferred to Orissa State. The Visakhapatnam District was reconstituted with the remaining area and residuary portions of Ganjam District namely Sompeta, Tekkali and Srikakulam Taluks in entirety and portion of Parlakimidi, Ichchapuram, Berahmpur retained in Madras presidency. With the passage of time, the reconstituted District was found administratively unwieldy and therefore it was bifurcated into Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam districts in the year 1950. The residuary district of Visakhapatnam was further bifurcated and the Taluks of Vizianagaram, Gajapathinagaram, Srungavarapukota and portion of Bheemunipatnam Taluk were transferred to the newly created Vizianagaram District in the year 1979.
Coming to etymology of the name Visakhapatnam, tradition has it that some centuries ago a King of Andhra Dynasty encamped on the site of the present Head Quarters Town of Visakhapatnam on his piligrimage to Banaras and being pleased with the place, had built a shrine in honour of his family deity called Visakeswara to the South of the Lawsons Bay from which the district has derived its name as Visakheswarapuram which subsequently changed to Visakhapatnam. The encroachment of waves and currents of the sea supposed to have swept away the shrine into off shore area.
The District presents two distinct Geographic divisions. The strip of the land along the coast and the interior called the plains division and hilly area of the Eastern Ghats flanking it on the North and West called the Agency Division. The Agency Division consists of the hilly regions covered by the Eastern Ghats with an altitutde of about 900 metres dotted by several peaks exceeding 1200 metres. Sankaram Forest block topping with 1615 metres embraces the Mandals of Paderu, G. Madugula, Pedabayalu, Munchingput, Hukumpeta, Dumbriguda, Araku Valley, Ananthagiri, Chinthapalli, G.K. Veedhi, and Koyyuru erstwhile Paderu, Araku Valley and Chinthapalli taluks in entirety. Machkhand River which on reflow becomes Sileru, drains and waters the area in its flow and reflow and is tapped for Power Generation. The other division is the plains division with altitude no where exceeding 75 metres watered and drained by Sarada, Varaha and Thandava Rivers and revulets Meghadrigedda and
Gambheeramgedda. Since no major Irrigation system exists significant sub regional agronomic variations exist in this division. Along the shore lies a series of salt and sandy swamps. The coast line is broken by a number of bald head lands, the important of them being the Dolphin's Nose which had afforded the establishment of Natural Harbour at Visakhapatnam, Rushikonda(v) Polavaram Rock and the big Narasimha Hill at Bheemunipatnam. Administratively, the District is devided into 3 Revenue Divisions and 43 Mandals.
The population of the district is 38.32 lakhs as per 2001 Census and this constituted 5.0% of the population of the state while the Geographical area of the District is 11161 Sq. KM. which is only 4.1% of the area of the State. Out of the total population 19.30 lakhs are Males and 19.02 lakhs are Females. The Sex Ratio is 985 Females per 1000 Males. The District has Density of population of 343 per Sq.Km. Agency area shows lesser Density and plain area higher density. 39.90% of the population reside in the 10 Hirarchic urban settlements while rest of the population is distributed in 3082 villages. Scheduled Castes constituted 7.82% of the population while Scheduled Tribes account for 14.55% of the population of the district. The district has a work force of 16.03 lakhs constituting about 41.83 of the population besides the marginal workers to a tune of 2.97 lakhs as per 2001 Census. The cultivators constitute 36.31% Agricultural Labourers 23.60% and the balance of 40.09% engage in Primary, Secondary and Teritory sectors as per 1991 census.
There are 20.02 lakhs literates forming 52.25% of the total population of the District. Male literates constitute 30.56% while female literates forming 21.69%.
The district has differing climatic conditions in different parts of it. Near Coast the air is moist and relaxing, but gets warmer towards the interior and cools down in the hilly areas on account of elevation and vegetation. April to June are warmest months. The Temperature (at Visakhapatnam Airport) gets down with the onset of South West Monsoon and tumbles to a mean minimum of 18.8o C by December after which there is revarsal trend till the temperature reaches mean maximum of 37.4o C by the end of May during 2002-2003.
The District receives annual normal rainfall of 1202 MM., of which south-west monsoon accounts for 53.9% of the normal while North-East monsoon contributes 24.8% of the normal rainfall during 2001-2002. The rest is shared by summer showers and winter rains. Agency and inland Mandals receive larger rainfall from the Sourth West Monsoon, while Coastal Mandals get similarly larger rainfall from North-East monsoon. But both the monsoons play truant, variations of South-west monsoon accounting for 15.3% of normal and North-west monsoon to 33.2% of normal. Since the variation for most periods is on the negative side of log `Y' and since even the years of normal rainfall are characterised by long dry spells during one or more parts of the crop season, the district experiences drought conditions too often, as no major irrigation system exists to cushion the vagaries of the monsoon.
Red Loamy soils predominate with a coverage of 69.9% of the villages of the district. The Soils are poor textured and easily drained. Sandy loamy soils come next with 19.2% villages coverage, largely confined to the coastal areas of Nakkapalli, Payakaraopeta, S.Rayavaram, Rambilli, Atchutapuram, Paravada, Visakhapatnam, Pedagantyada, Gajuwaka and Bheemunipatnam Mandals and to certen streches in the interior Mandals of Chodavaram, Narsipatnam, K.Kotapadu and Madugula. Black cotton soils come up next having sizeable chunks of area in K.Kotapadu, Devarapalli, Cheedikada, Paderu and Hukumpeta Mandals. 45% of the soils in the district are low in organic content and 55% in Phosphorous content.
The total geographical area of the district is 11.34 lakh hectares of this 30.5% alone is arable area while 42.1% is forest area. The rest is distributed among "Barren and uncultivable land" about 11.6% and "Land put to non agricultural uses" about 8.9%. Out of the arable area, the net area sown form 24.4% while culturable waste and fallow (current and old) lands constitute about 6.4% during 2002-2003.
FLORA AND FAUNA
More than the one third of the area in the District is covered by forest. The forests are of moist and dry decidous type. The common species available in them are Guggilam, Tangedu, Sirimanu, Kamba, Yagisa, Nallamaddi, Gandra, Vepa etc. Bamboo shurbs are sparsely scattered. But forest area in the district has been showing a quiescent pecline since 1955-56 perhaps due to podu practice, indiscriminate grasing and browsing. To stem this, regeneration programmes are being carried out. Chinthapalli Teak Plantation is an off shoot of this. The latest caper in this regeneration programme is raising of Teak, Silver trees, coffee plantations, as the agency areas are found suitable agronomically for coffee growth. Coffee plantations have been raised in about 10000 Acres in Chinthapalli, Minimuluru, Devarapalli and Ananthagiri regions by different agencies for different purposes. By the forest Department to conserve soil, by the Coffee board to evolve cultures suited to non-traditional areas and by the Girijan Corporation and the I.T.D.A. to wean out tribals from the pernicious practices of "Podu Cultivation.”
Regarding fauna the district has a livestock of 13.43 lakhs as per 1999 livestock Census. In the Livestock, Cattle form 33.4% Buffaloes 31.28% Sheep 14.3% and Goats 17.6% about wild fauna Boars and Bisons are found in Forest areas of the district and isolated instances of Cheetas and tigers.
Agriculture is the main stray of nearly 70% of the households. Though Visakhapantam city is industrially developing, the rural areas continued to be backward. Rice is a staple food of the people and Paddy is therefore the principal food crop of the district followed by Ragi, Bajra and Jowar and Cash Crops such as Sugarcane, Groundnut, Sesamum Niger and Chillies are important. Since there is no Major Irrigation system, only about 30% of the cropped area is irrigated under the Ayacut of the Medium Irrigation System and Mimnor Irrigation Tanks. The rest of the cultivated area is covered under dry crops depending upon the vagaries of the monsoon. The productivity of the crops is low.
Animal Husbandry is an important allied economic activity to Agriculture. Next to draught Animals which are main source of energy for Agriculture, Milch Animals, Sheep and Goat are important for income generation of the rural households. A sizable number of households earn subsidary income by selling milk to Visakha Dairy and in Local markets. The total livestock of the district is 13.43 lakhs of which working animals account for 2.71 lakhs while milch Animals account for 3.36 lakhs. Goats and Sheeps totalling upto 4.29 lakhs are important for the livelihood of the considerable population.
It is another important economic activity of the fishermen population living in about 59 fishery villages and hamlets on coastline stretching to a length of 132 KMs. covering 11 coastal mandals. About 13,000 fishermen families to ekeout their livelihood from marine, Inland and brakish water fishing beside catching fish living around Thandava and Raiwada reservoyers.
The District has mineral deposits of Bauxite Apatite (Rock Phosphate) Calcite, Crystaline limestone confined to tribal tracts. Bauxite deposits at Sapparla, Jerrila and Gudem of G.K.Veedhi Mandal are considered to be the largest in the country. Bauxite deposits are also identified at Galikonda, Katuki, Chittemgodndi of Araku group deposits, Katamrajukonda of Gurthedu sub-group of deposits. Phosphate Apatite is avilable in Kasipatnam village of Ananthagiri mandal. Rich deposits of Crystaline limestone and Calcite are mapped in Borra Caves and along the Valley up to Araku from Borra and around Valasi village of Ananthagiri mandal. Ruby Mica is another mineral available in the District essential for electrical and electronic industries. The mineral occurs in the form of Phologopite and is confined to Borra tract.
Quartz is another mineral found mostly in Bheemunipatnam, Padmanabham, Devarapalli, K.Kotapadu and Ananthagiri mandals. Vermiculate found near Kasipatnam of Ananthagiri mandal. Clay deposits near Malivalasa of Araku mandal are identified. Limeshell useful for manufacture of chemical grade lime is also available in the district. Red and Yellow ochre deposits are also identified in Araku and Ananthagiri mandals.
Industrial Development is conspicuous in Visakhapatnam urban agglomeration with the large scale industries like Hindustan Shipyard, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Coromandal Fertilisers, Bharat Heavy Plates and Vessels, L.G.Polymers Ltd., Hindustan Zinc Plant and the recent giant Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and a host of other ancillary Industries. The Visakhapatnam Steel Plant is the biggest with an authorised share capital of Rs.7466 crores with a licenced capacity of 2.8 Million Tonnes of salable steel 3.0 Million Tonnes of Pig Iron and 8.32 lakhs Tonnes of By product. About 25,000 persons expected to be employed. The project has provided employment to 16300 persons. On the country side the agro based industries like Sugar Factories, Jute Mills and Rice Mills are there besides brick and tile units. The District has 1063 registered factories under factories Act functioning with a working force of about 77203 persons during 2002-2003.
Power consumption by industries is 42.45 Million KWH while it is 70.17 for Agricultural purposes. All 3,335 habitations in the District have been electrified including solar power system during 2002-2003.
The District has a Road length of 7336 kms. of which the National Highway 5 runs to a length of 134.28 KMs., State Highways at a length of 277 KMs. and the balance forms the roads maintained by Roads and Buildings, Zilla Praja Parishad and Mandal Praja Parishads.
The number of Vehicles registered during 2002-2003 are 390322 of which 326295 are Motor Cycles. There are 660 Post Offices, 7 Telegraph Offices and 96 Telephone Exchanges with 156993 telephone connections in the District..
EDUCATIONAL AND MEDICAL FACILITIES
There are 3550 Primary Schools with 2.80 lakhs children on enrolment, 489 Upper Primary Schools with an enrolment of 1.28 lakhs 447 High Schools with 2.04 lakhs pupils on roll, 196 Junior, Degree and Professional Institutions with 0.83 lakhs students during 2002-2003.
Regarding Medical facilities, there are 159 Government Hospitals and dispensaries both Allopathic and Indian Medicine with 2819 bed-strength and 596 Doctors.
There are 320 Bank Branches including Cooperative Banks in the district to look after the credit needs of the people.
Beaches: Vishakapatnam's beaches are lovely and serene, with vast stretches of golden sand. The waters are ideal for swimming and other water sports.
Dolphin's Nose: This massive rock, 357 m high, is shaped like a Dolphin's nose. The rock jutts out in to the sea, forming a headland on which is the lighthouse. This powerful lighthouse has a beam that can be seen 65 km out at sea.
Harbour: The picturesque Vishakapatnam harbour is one of the best natural harbours in the world. A temple, mosque and church are located on hils overlooking it. The Hindustan shipyard, 23 hectares in extent is situated to the southwest of the harbour.
Lawson's Bay: North of Vishakapatnam in this pretty cove, ideal for swimming. The Ramakrishna Mission beach and Rishikonda beach also attracts the swimmer.
Araku Valley (115 km): This picturesque Araku Valley, at an altitude of 975 metres in the Ananthagiri hills,is a fascinating experience out of the ordinary. The journey to Araku Vally is a fascinating experience out of the ordinary. The journey to Araku hills, is by a well-laid ghats road that winds through thick forest, Orchards and coffee plantations. Rich in flora and fauna, this fertile vally is watered by the perennial Zilda waterfalls. Araku Valley is the home of many tribes whosu folklore and traditions add to the attraction of the area.
Bhimunipatnam (34 km): Bhimunipatnam, at the mounth of the Gosthani River near the Narasimha Hill, has a beautiful beach and calm water. It also has the remains of a 17th Century Dutch settlement.
Borra Caves (88 km): These limestone caves are famous for their fascinating stalactite and stalagmite formations. Here, stream suddeny disappears into a hill and emerges 91 metres below in a deep gorge. The train journey from Araku Valley to borra takes thetraveller through winding tunnels and lush green forests.
Sankaram (41 km): A place of archaeological interest, Sankaram village has many Buddhist relics, including a life-size statues of buddha.
Simhachalam (16 km): The 11th century Varaha Lakshminarasimha Temple here is in the picturesque Simhachalam hill range, 244 metres above sealevel. The famous templesque simhachalam hill range, 244 metres above sealevel. The famous temple, dedicated to the man-lion incarnation of Vishnu, is one of the richest in India. The temple, abounding in sculpture of rare excellence, is archest in India. The image of the deity here is alays covered with sandal paste and can be seen fully only during the Spring Vaisakha festival of Chandana Yatra. The journey to Simhachalam is an exhilarating experience as the road winds through valleys covered with pineapple fields and orchards.