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Orissa govt leaves border folk in lurch

Cuttack, Aug. 3: Several villages on the Orissa-Andhra Pradesh and Orissa-Chhattisgarh borders are faced with a strange situation thanks to the apparent apathy of the Orissa government.

Though located in Orissa, the government of neighbouring states are building roads, providing drinking water facilities and appointing teachers in the schools in these villages.

A public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Orissa High Court yesterday has alleged this while seeking intervention for ensuring benefits of welfare measures and different schemes of Orissa government for the people of these villages. Keonjhar Navanirman Parishad secretary Dillip Kumar Mohapatra and Jayadeb Behera filed the PIL alleging that the villages are neither getting the benefits of different schemes of the Orissa government nor being provided with basic services. “Andhra Pradesh government has built roads, provided water facilities and is conducting developmental work in Raipada village in Koraput district and the Chhattisgarh government has also constructed roads, and inaugurated a drinking water project at Chandili village, which falls in Orissa,” the petition alleged.

“From the above two instances it is clear that the two villages are under the control of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh,” the PIL contends, adding, “There are other such Orissa villages along the state border which face the same problem.”

According to the petition, the Andhra Pradesh government had appointed teachers in the school and are teaching the students in Telugu.

“The villagers are waiting for aid from the neighbouring states,” the petition contends seeking direction that the Orissa government take “immediate steps to construct approach roads to the villages, provide infrastructure for education and supply Oriya books, depute Oriya teachers, provide pure drinking water, subsidised rice and other benefits of government schemes”.

The petitioners also alleged that people of such border villages had managed to get voter identity cards from both Orissa and the neighbouring state and were casting votes in both states during different elections.

The petition has sought direction to the Election Commissioner of India to take immediate steps “to cancel the second voter identity card”.

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