Visakhapatnam: Members of the Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples have demanded the inclusion of 447 villages under 36 mandals in five districts in the Agency tracts.
The body based its demand on the criteria that the mandals have a preponderance of tribals , are underdeveloped and present extreme disparity in terms of economic standards of their residents. A member of the body said they have petitioned the Union government to include non-Agency villages along Agency border areas in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari districts in Agency tracts.
Speaking to TOI, G Ram Gopal, president of the Andhra Pradesh division of the ICITP, said, “Taking a look at the demographic, the local economics and trade factors, we have been demanding the inclusion of these mandals in the Agency tracts.” He further added, “As per the Fifth Schedule (Article 244 (1)) of the Constitution, no additional funds would be required if any taluk or village is included in a scheduled area. The tribals residing in these areas will receive benefits similar to those accorded to tribal residents in the Agency tracts.”
Activists listed 92 villages across eight mandals for inclusion in Visakhapatnam district, 40 villages in three mandals in East Godavari district, 178 villages in 12 mandals in Vizianagaram district, 136 villages in 12 mandals in Srikakulam district and one village in Koyyalgudem mandal in West Godavari.