Ongole District came into existence on 02-02-1970 with the carving out portions of Markapur Revenue Division from Kurnool, Ongole Revenue Division from Guntur and Kandukur Revenue Division from Nellore Districts. It was renamed as Prakasam District in 1972 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 Kanuparthi village of Naguluppala Padu Mandal of this district.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.
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 Cudappah 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 Kurnool District on the West. As one goes towards Addanki Mandal from the side of Narsaraopet in Guntur District, the Hill fortress of Kondaveedu are seen on the perched on the Kondaveedu hill ranges. 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.
The district has 102 KMs coastline covering Chirala, Vetapalem, Chinaganjam, N.G.Padu, Ongole, Kothapatnam, Tangutur, Singarayakonda, Ulavapadu and Gudlur Mandals. Some Mandals have beaches and important among them are Vodarevu of Chirala Mandal, Motupalli of Chinaganjam Mandal, Kothapatnam and Ramayapatnam of Ulavapadu Mandal.
The District is watered by the Gundlakamma, Manneru, Musi and Paleru Rivers 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-Eastly direction touches Mundlamur, Addanki, Maddipadu and Ongole Mandals and falls into Bay of Bengal near Devarampadu of Ongole Mandal. The important tributaries are Kandaleru, Chilamaleru 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 nearing completion on Gundlakamma River near Mallavaram village of Maddipadu Mandal.The river Manneru raises in the Veligondas at Balupalli of C.S.Puram Mandal flows through Nellore District and takes a turn at Pentrala of Lingasamudram Mandal in this District. It flows a distance of 112 Kms and falls into Bay of Bengal near Karedu of Ulavapadu Mandal. The Dokkalavagu and Nerellavagu fall into this river. It feeds Mopadu Reservoir, Rallapadu Reservoir and V.R.Kota Channel.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, Kandukur, 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.
Soil types existing in the District
Red loamy, black cotton and sandy loams are the predominant soils in the District forming 51%, 41% and 6% respectively over the total area of the District. The black cotton soil is widely prevalent in 16 Mandals of Ongole division. The red loams are predominant in parts of Kandukur and Markapur divisions largely covering 19 Mandals. Sandy loams prominently exist in the Mandals of Chirala, Vetapalem, Chinaganjam and Ulavapadu where Cashew plantations and Casurina are being widely grown because of the suitability of soil.
Climate and Rainfall
In the District the sea breeze renders the climate moderate 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 33.7 and 24.1 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 388.3 m.m and 393.7 m.m respectively. The receipt of actual rainfall during 2012-13 from South-West monsoon is 218.3 m.m while 202.9 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 4,61,983 Ha. forming 26.2% 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.
An ayacut of 5.02 Lakh of Acres is under Major Irrigation and 6.09 Lakhs Acres of ayacut under Medium, Minor Irrigation sources in the district.Nagarjuna Sagar Project and Krishna Western Delta are under Major Irrigation.Rallapadu Reservoir, Mopadu Reservoir, Paleru-Bitragunta Anicut, V.R.Kota Anicut and Cumbum tank are sources under Medium Irrigation.957 Minor Irrigation tanks with an Ayacut of 1.38 Lakhs acres are under cultivation. Out of 957 Minor Irrigations tanks 589 tanks were taken over from Panchayat Raj Department.
Area, Population and other related PARTICULARS
The District occupies an area of 17,626 Sq.Kms. with a density of 193 persons per Sq.Km. The area of the district is much more in size when compared to other coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh. This district has 102 KMs. of coastline spread over in 10 Mandals.There are as many as 1,093 villages exist in the district, of which 1,058 are Revenue villages and the remaining 35 are Forest villages according to 2011 Census. Out of 1,093 villages, 1,002 villages are inhabited while the balance is 91 un-inhabited villages.The physical characteristics, natural resources and potentialities of the Mandals in the district are not homogeneous. As per 2011 Census, the total population of the district is 33,97,448. It accounts for 6.88% of the total population of the State and is ranked 9th in the size of the population. The female population of the district is 16,82,684 and this forms 49.53% of the district and 6.83% of the State female population.According to the Latest Census, the Rural population of the district is 27,33,866 and it constitutes 80.44% of the district population and 7.86% to that of State Rural population. Similarly, the urban population of the district spread over in 12 Towns is 6,64,582 forming 19.56% of the district population and 4.55% of the State urban population.As regards community-wise population, the Scheduled Caste population of the district is 7,87,861 which is 23.19% of the district population and 9.33% of the State total Scheduled Caste population. Similarly, the Scheduled Tribe population of the district is 1,51,145 and it accounts for 4.45% of the district and 5.04% of the State Scheduled Tribe population. The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe population are based upon 2011 Census.The Decennial growth of population in the district from 2001 Census to 2011 Census was 11.05%. The density of population according to 2011 Census is 193 per Sq.Km. whereas it is 308 per Sq.Km. for the State. The literacy rate of the district is 63.08% which is lower than the State literacy rate of 67.41%. The sex ratio of the district is 981 females per 1000 males as against 996 of the State. The number of Main workers as arrived at in 2011 Census is 14,63,508 forming 43.08% of total population of the district and 7.61% of the State population.
Administrative units of the district
The District comprises three Revenue divisions viz., Ongole, Kandukur and Markapur. As many as 56 Mandals were formed separately for Revenue and Panchayat Raj with effect from 25.05.1985 in place of 14 erstwhile Taluks and 17 Panchayat Samithies with the objective of bringing the administration to the doorsteps of the people. They started functioning from 15.01.1987. Besides,4 Municipalities are in the District viz., Ongole, Kandukur, Chirala and Markapur.The district comprises three revenue divisions namely Ongole, Kandukur and Markapur. Ongole division consists of 20 mandals and Kandukur division with 24 mandals and apart from Markapur division with 12 mandals. Thus, a total of 56 mandals besides 4 municipalities are existing in the district.As many as 1002 Inhabited Revenue villages are existing in the district. They have been constituted into 1043 Gram Panchayats duly classifying them into 62 and 981 Gram Panchayats as Notified and non- Notified respectively.