The Prakasam District named in memory of the eminent freedom fighter, later Chief Minister of the composite Madras State and the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh State, late Sri Tanguturi “Prakasam Panthulu, “Andhra Kesari” who was born at Vinodarayuni palem, a hamlet of Kanaparthi village of Naguluppala Padu Mandal of this district.
The Geographical, topographic, demographic and other socio economic aspects of Prakasam district are delineated hereunder.
1) BOUNDARIES AND TOPOGRAPHY OF THE DISTRICT:
The District is bounded by the following places and features on all the four sides.
East : Bay of Bengal.
West : Kurnool & Nandyala Districts.
North : Bapatla, Narasaraopeta and Mahaboobnagar Districts.
South : SPSR Nellore and YSR Districts.
The District is situated in tropical region between14-57′-00″ to 16-17′-00′ Northern latitude and 78-43-00′ to 80-25’-00″ Eastern longitude. The Central portion of the District contains large tracts of low shurbs and Jungle diversified with rocky hills and stony plains, which is a peculiar feature of the District. The Markapur Division drawn from Kurnool district is purely an upland area.
2. NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE DISTRICT:
The important hill ranges in the district are the picturesque Nallamalas and the Veligondas which separate the District from Kurnool and YSR Districts
The Nallamalas consist of a range of unbroken rugged and fairly steep hills with an average elevation about 620 Mtrs above Sea level, covering an area of 113 KMs length and 32 KMs width in North-South direction. The Nallamalas cover the Mandals of Giddalur, Markapur, Ardhaveedu, Cumbum and Yerragondapalem and the boundary between Giddalur Forest Division on the East and the Kurnool District forest divisions on the West. There are two passes in the Nallamalas namely the Nandi Kanuma and Manbala Kanuma. The Nandi kanuma forms the main artery of communication between Kurnool and Bellary (in Karnataka) Districts on the West and later connects Dornala, Yerragondapalem and Markapur on the East and Atmakur of Nandyal District on the West. The portions of veligonda stand prominently as two continuous parallel ranges of fairly steep hills running in a north-south direction with wide valley between.
The watershed of the Eastern range of hills forms the boundary between Giddalur and Kanigiri Mandals. The water from these hills drains in a Northenly direction in to Gundlakamma River.
b) SEA COAST
The district has 50 KMs coastline covering N.G.Padu, Ongole, Kothapatnam, Tangutur, Singarayakonda Mandals. Some Mandals have beaches and important among them are Kothapatnam of Kothapatnam Mandal, Pakala of Singarayakonda Mandal.
The Gundlakamma, Musi and Paleru Rivers water the District besides small rivers like Thammileru, Sagileru and Gudisileru and streams like Ogeru vagu, Nallavagu and Vedimangala vagu.
The Gundlakamma River rises at an altitude of about 2,700 ft near Gundla Brahmeswaram of Nallamala forest. It enters the plains through the Cumbum gorge. It runs in a North-Eastern direction touches Mundlamur, Maddipadu and Ongole Mandals and falls into Bay of Bengal near Devarampadu of Ongole Mandal. The important tributaries are Kandaleru, Chilakaleru and Dornapuvagu. The total length of the River is about 265 Kms of which about 220 Kms lie in the district. The projects across this river are the Thippayapalem Reservoir, Duvvaleru Project, Cumbum and Bhavanasi tanks. Ongole town gets its drinking water from this river. The construction of Gundlakamma project is completed on Gundlakamma River near Mallavaram village of Maddipadu Mandal.
The river Musi rises near Dokkalasala in the Veligondas. It flows first easternly and then southernly through Markapur, Darsi, Northern border of Podili, Kondepi, Tangutur and Kothapatnam Mandals falls into the Bay of Bengal near Madanur of Kothapatnam Mandal. It receives the Gajjaleru, Dondaleru and Atleru in its course and feeds tanks of Podili and Konakanamitla Mandals.
The river Paleru rises in the Veligondas and flows through Veligandla, Kanigiri, Zarugumalli, Singarayakonda and Tangutur Mandals for a distance of 112 Kms and falls into the Bay of Bengal at Pakala of Singarayakonda Mandal. It feeds Panduvagandi and Paleru Bitragunta schemes.
d) CLIMATE AND RAINFALL
In the District the sea breeze renders the climate moder¬ate both in winter and summer seasons in the coastal areas of the district. In the non-coastal areas of the district, the heat in the summer is severe especially in the tracts of upland areas and adjoining hills. The normal maximum and minimum temperatures recorded in the district are 40.20C and 20.30C respectively. The Maximum temperature is usually recorded in the months April, May and June.
The District receives its rainfall mostly and predominantly from South West as well as North-East monsoon whose normal rainfall is 366.2 m.m and 384.7 m.m respectively. The receipt of actual rainfall during 2019-20 from South-West monsoon is 353.2 m.m while 271.5 m.m from North-East monsoon. The agriculture activity in the district is deplorable owing to gambling of monsoons and unreliable rainfall and much dependence on tanks and wells for irrigation.
The total Forest area in the district accounts for 4,42,073 Ha. forming 30.86% of the total Geographical area. The famous Nallamala forest is formed mainly in Giddalur, Komarole, Racherla, Ardhaveedu, Yerragondapalem, Pullalacheruvu and Dornala Mandals. In the costal areas orchids are abundantly grown with casurinas and cashew plantations. According to records the Nallamalla Forest was home to Wild life and tiger population.
3. IRRIGATION POTENTIAL:
Nagarjuna Sagar Project and Krishna Western Delta are under Major Irrigation.
Mopadu Reservoir, Paleru-Bitragunta Anicut, and Cumbum tank are sources under Medium Irrigation.
798 Minor Irrigation tanks with an Ayacut of 89,267 Hectors are under cultivation.
4. AREA, POPULATION AND OTHER RELATED PARTICULARS:
The District occupies an area of 14,323 Sq.Kms. with a density of 160 persons per Sq.Km. This district has 50KMs. of coastline spread over in 5 Mandals.
There are as many as 857 villages (including forest villages) exist in the district. Out of 857 villages, 769 villages are inhabited while the balance is 88 un-inhabited villages as per 2011 Census.
The physical characteristics, natural resources and potential¬ities of the Mandals in the district are not homogeneous. As per 2011 Census, the total population of the district is 22,88,026. The female population of the district is 11,27,398 and this forms 49.27% of the district and 4.55% of the State female population.
According to the Latest Census, the Rural population of the district is 18,43,161 and it constitutes 80.56% of the district population and 5.27% to that of State Rural population. Similarly, the urban popula¬tion of the district spread over in 9 Towns is 4,44,865 forming 19.44% of the district population and 3.05% of the State urban popula¬tion.
As regards community-wise population, the Scheduled Caste population of the district is 5,37,159 which is 23.48% of the district population and 6.34% of the State total Scheduled Caste population. Similarly, the Scheduled Tribe population of the district is 88,209 and it accounts for 3.86% of the district and 3.21% of the State Scheduled Tribe population. The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe population are based upon 2011 Census.
The density of population according to 2011 Census is 160 per Sq.Km. whereas it is 304 per Sq.Km. for the State. The literacy rate of the district is 62.45% which is lower than the State literacy rate of 67.41%. The sex ratio of the district is 971 females per 1000 males as against 997 of the State. The number of Main workers as arrived at in 2011 Census is 9,74,923 forming 42.61% of total population of the district.
5. ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS OF THE DISTRICT:
The District comprises three Revenue divisions viz., Ongole, Kanigiri and Markapur. 38 Mandals. ‘1’ Municipal Corporation i.e., Ongole, ‘1’ Municipality i.e., Markapur and ‘5’ Nagarapanchayats Chimakurthy, Giddalur, Podili, Darsi and Kanigiri in the District.
Ongole division consists of ‘12’ mandals, Kanigiri division with ‘13’ mandals and Markapur division with ‘13’ mandals. Thus, a total of 38 mandals besides 1 Municipal Corporation, 1 Municipality, 5 Nagara Panchayats and 734 Gram Panchayats are existing in the district.
‘750’ Inhabited Revenue villages are existing in the district. They have been constituted into 734 Gram Panchayats.
6. PARLIAMENT AND ASSEMBLY CONSTITUENCIES :
The District shares 2 Parliamentary constituen¬cies viz., 15.Bapatla, and 16.Ongole.
There are 8 Assembly Constituencies existing in the district as specified hereunder.
102-Y.Palem (SC) 103-Darsi 107-S.N.Padu (SC)
108-Ongole 110-Kondepi (SC) 111-Markapur
7. TOURISM POTENTIAL IN PRAKASAM DISTRICT
There is enormous potential for Tourism in Prakasam district because of location of religious monuments and endowed with rich historical or archaeological heritage. The district has it all that makes it a place worth a visit right from historical structures to Buddhist monuments and beaches to sanctuaries.