Taking note of the negative connotations of Anantapur, which is commonly pronounced as ‘Anantha Poor’, meaning unending poverty, the state government on Wednesday issued G.O.187 changing the name of the district headquarters to ‘Anantapuram.’ The government has been under pressure from the people, public representatives, and officials for the past one year to change the name of the district. Revenue minister N. Raghuveera Reddy, who represents the district, took the initiative to change the name. Because of the unfortunate manner of pronouncing it as ‘Anantha Poor’ an impression is given that the district has nothing but unending poverty. A series of famines in British times in this area only confirmed this negative image. Though the headquarters of the district has not been badly hit, the rest of the district has witnessed many droughts and even starvation deaths.
The district gets the second lowest rainfall in the country after Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. The NREG Scheme that guarantees 100 days of paid work for anyone who asks for it, was launched from Anantapur, which also has desert development programmes to boost rural incomes. Though it is unlikely that a change in name will suddenly improve socio-economic conditions in the district, Mr Raghuveera Reddy told this correspondent that he hopes for success for the district after its change of name on Ugadi. He said, “The district can get development in all aspects after wiping out the negative sentiment.”