With the clamour for creating new districts in Chhattisgarh is getting shriller after chief minister Bhupesh Baghel had announced four new districts on August 15, three tehsils of Kanker in southern part of the state are demanding for new districts. With the addition of Manendragarh, Mohla-Manpur, Sakti and Sarangarh-Bilaigarh, the total number of districts in the state will now stand at 32.
While Antagarh and Bhanupratappur are waging a war to create a district, Koylibeda (Pakhanjur) have also already entered the fray.
The CM’s announcement has rekindled hope among villagers for development in Naxal-affected regions of Bastar. Hundreds of villagers of Koyalibeda in Kanker district staged a demonstration demanding that their district headquarters be changed.
Village sarpanch Lachhu Gavde of Sikaser complained that the present district headquarters Kanker is about 150 kilometers away while Narayanpur district is only 65 km away from the Koyalibeda. The distance was creating a hindrance in accessing benefits made available through government schemes, Gavde pointed out. “Many of us villagers are illiterate, and BPL card holders reaching to the present district headquarters become quite difficult. Therefore, we are demanding inclusion of these villages into Narayanpur (district),” he said.
Kanker district has 7 tehsils
Kanker district has a population of about 6 lakh and seven tehsils, including Kanker, Narharpur, Durgkondal, Bhanupratappur, Antagarh and Koylibeda (Pakhanjur). Among these, Koylibeda is about 102.7 km from the district headquarter.
Long demand to make Antagarh a district
The demand to make Antagarh tehsil a new district has been going on for the last several years. But after CM’s announcement on August 15, people from several panchayats have come out on the streets. People of Amabeda have also been on an indefinite strike. Representatives of Antagarh say it is situated in the middle of Kanker district. If it is made a district, then the people of Bhanupratappur and Koylibeda will also get benefit. The distance from Antagarh to Bhanupratappur is about 30 km.
Demand for making Bhanupratappur a district too
A dispute has taken place between the people of Antagarh and Bhanupratappur as the latter has also stood in line to become a district. Panchayats of Bhanupratappur area have also started protesting on the road.
Narayanpur, Sanku Usendi, a social activist said, “What a tyranny earlier when we all are part of Bastar district, our tehsil was Naryanpur now delimitation has changed out district headquarter, we are facing difficulty, we are facing neglected, so we came here to register protest.”
Villagers have submitted a memorandum addressing the governor in support of their demands and threatened to go for violent protests.