Earlier this month, the government of Tamil Nadu announced the creation of the state’s 33rd district — Kallakurichi, carved out of Villuppuram district, south of Chennai.
WHY ANOTHER: Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced the new district in the Assembly on January 8 — the fulfilment, he said, of a longstanding demand by the people. Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam, the MLA from Villuppuram, and R Kumaraguru, the MLA from Ulundurpet, had informed him of the people’s demand and the difficulty they faced travelling from remote areas to the district headquarters in Villuppuram, the CM said.
A top official monitoring the logistics of creating the new district said given the size of Villuppuram — at over 7,200 sq km, one of the largest in the state — the decision was “logically sound”, and was likely to “improve governance and administration”.
The district of Villuppuram, of which Kallakurichi has been part, was created in 1993, when the government of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, considering factors such as better accessibility and governance, split the district of South Arcot into Villuppuram and Cuddalore. A senior officer who has served in Villuppuram said the district headquarters is 70-100 km from several parts of Kallakurichi, and the new district will save people, many of them tribals, a 2-3-hour journey to Villuppuram. Traders and others who frequently have work at the Collectorate and revenue and police offices would benefit, the officer said.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW: The Chief Minister in his announcement said an IAS officer would be appointed to complete the administrative work involved in creating the district. Officials said this special officer would be appointed in 15 days, and that the officer would, in coordination with the commissioner of revenue administration, complete basic procedures and assessments within three months.
These procedures include drawing boundaries, and deciding the blocks and taluks of the new district. After the government formally accepts the plan, the new district administration, including the revenue and police departments, will be put in place.
EARLIER DISTRICTS: After independence, the districts of the Raj were broken into smaller units, mostly ensuring that the district headquarters was within 100 km from anywhere in the district. The larger districts were divided and subdivided in stages into smaller districts.
The old Ramanathapuram district was divided into Ramanathapuram, Sivagangai and Virudhunagar districts. Theni was formed after Madurai was bifurcated. Erode and Coimbatore were reorganised to create Tiruppur, and Krishnagiri was carved out of Dharmapuri. Nagapattinam, which was formed by splitting the old Thanjavur district with its rich Chola history, was bifurcated to create Thiruvarur. Salem, once the biggest district in the state, was over time divided into four separate districts. Karur, and the two most backward districts of Ariyalur and Perambalur, were carved out of Trichy district.
OTHER DEMANDS: In Pollachi in Coimbatore district, people have been demanding a separate district, citing various issues related to administration. The people of Sankarankovil, the second largest municipality in Tirunelveli, too have demanded separate district status.