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.


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..


 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.

Tourist Place

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.

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