Flare-up on Odisha-Andhra border: Union Minister Pradhan urges Odisha CM to seek Centre’s support

By: Express News Service | Bhubaneshwar |

November 20, 2020 1:22:38 am

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra PradhanUnion Minister Dharmendra Pradhan hails from Odisha (File)

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has urged Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to resolve a border dispute with neighbouring Andhra Pradesh after a recent flare-up in Koraput district.

Pradhan, who hails from Odhisha, urged the Chief Minister in a letter to seek the Centre’s support to resolve longstanding boundary disputes with other states as well and convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.

The letter comes in the wake of escalating tensions along the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border in Pottangi block of Koraput district. It was alleged by Odisha villagers that officials from Andhra Pradesh claimed certain portions of Sunabeda Mouza area under Sambai Panchayat and dug a pond there. After the villagers protested, Andhra Pradesh residents allegedly blocked the Pottangi-Arku road.

On Wednesday, confirming the developments, Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi said: “We are aware of the situation in the border area and we are taking all possible measures to protect our territory. Any kind of illegal encroachment will not be encouraged and necessary steps will be taken.”

Pradhan stated in his letter that 14 of Odisha’s 30 districts border Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Odisha has a long history of border disputes with these states owing to historical, cartographic and geological reasons, he said.

“Taking a holistic view of the situation, it is important to shed light on the developmental issues and infrastructural challenges affecting the people living on both sides of the border such as providing connectivity and infrastructure in remote areas, ensuring implementation of key developmental programmes and jointly tackling the threat from Left Wing Extremism,” he said.

Meanwhile Koraput district collector Madhusudan Mishra said the Block Development Officer and Tehsildar are preparing a detailed report on the issue which will be submitted to the state government. “Land surveys are being conducted by the Andhra Pradesh officials but since it is a state border, only bilateral surveys or land measurements are acceptable and deemed valid. Unilateral surveys stand invalid,” Mishra said.

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