BAPUJI RURAL ENLIGHTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT SOCIETY
Andhra Pradesh is the largest and most populous state in South India with over 76 million people. It is bordered by, Maharastra, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa to the north, Tamil Nadu to the south, Karnataka to the west, and the Bay of Bengal to the east. AP has the second largest coastline in India, at 970 km (603 miles).
Andhra Pradesh is known as “ India’s Rice Bowl’ because large amounts of paddy are grown on its large coastal plains, crossed by the Krishna and Godavari Rivers. In addition to rice, farmers grow cotton, red chilies, nuts, sugarcane, tobacco, and other crops. While agriculture has been the chief source of income for the state’s economy, Andhra Pradesh has recently become involved in the information technology and biotechnology sectors, mostly concentrated in the capital of Hyderabad.
In India, many states are created along linguistic and ethnic lines. Andhra Pradesh was formed in 1956 from the Telugu-speaking portions of Madras (now Tamil Nadu) and Hyderabad states. About 85% of the AP population speaks Telugu, which shares the Dravidian origins of other South Indian languages. Telugu is the second most spoken language in India after Hindi. Andhra is also home to many groups ofAdivasis, or indigenous, tribal people, who comprise about six percent of the population.
The state of AP received international attention when the tsunami of December 26, 2004 ravaged the countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Indian states on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. While less immediate material damage and deaths were suffered in coastal Andhra compared to other tsunami-affected areas, this natural calamity had a profound effect on local communities for a number of reasons that are still felt today. Unfair competition from large-scale fishing operations forced large number of men from Srikakulam District fishing communities to migrate for a portion of the year to work in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The island chain, located in the center of the Bay of Bengal, was a major victim of the tsunami and many of these men were killed. Not only did the tsunami create many grieving families without husbands, sons, and brothers in Srikakulam, it robbed these coastal communities of their ability to sustain their livelihoods.
Srikakulam is the northernmost coastal district of Andhra Pradesh, and out of the state's 23 districts, one of the poorest. It is bordered by Orissa to the north and east, Vizianagram District to the west, and the Bay of Bengal to the east. It has the longest coastline of any district in the state. There are twelve constituencies in the district, and BREDS works in six of these areas.