The chief ministers of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh will meet here on Tuesday to find a solution to the border and water disputes between the two states.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy will arrive here on a one-day visit on November 9 for talks with his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik.
Odisha’s focus will be on finding a solution to the dispute over the Kotia gram panchayat in Koraput district.
Andhra Pradesh will insist on resolving the row over various ongoing dam projects, including Vamsadhara (phase II) located in Srikakulam district. Andhra Pradesh requires 106 acres of land in Odisha for the completion of the project.
“The meeting is scheduled to take place at 5pm,” said a senior official of the chief minister’s office.
Both the states had moved the Supreme Court to find a solution to the border dispute issue.
“We are hopeful of finding a solution. The Andhra Pradesh government will be more interested in finding a solution to the disputes regarding the dam project. But we will raise the issue of Kotia panchayat as well,” said an official.
The meeting comes at a time repeated intrusions by Andhra Pradesh government officials into the bordering villages of Odisha have worsened the situation.
“We have deployed hundreds of policemen in the bordering areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh,” an official said.
Despite Odisha’s opposition, Andhra Pradesh was able to hold pachayat elections in seven villages of the Kotia gram panchayat. After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Andhra and Telangana, Andhra continued its expansion policy.
Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy Telegraph picture
Former Koraput MP Jairam Pangi said: “ A systematic plan has been adopted by the Andhra government to take away the villages of Odisha. It had earlier been successful and now is making a renewed attempt to grab more and more land from Odisha. They have succeeded because Odisha has neglected its border areas for a long time.”
“As a part of its strategy, Andhra is putting extra emphasis on building infrastructure, roads and provide work to the people of the Kutia panchayat. But the Odisha government has failed here. People have little chance to know that development has also not taken place over the years in the interior parts of Andhra Pradesh,” Pangi added.
The former MP said though the Odisha government created infrastructure, it failed to create sustainable livelihood opportunities for the people of the bordering areas. “While people sitting at the capital managed to win tenders and contracts for various projects, local people failed to earn a livelihood.”
The former MP, who is currently in the BJP, said: “Both the states have engaged in a fierce battle over these areas. Now I have launched an agitation to form Dandakaranya Vikas Parishad, an area that would be formed taking four districts of Odisha and parts of Andhra Pradesh. It should be given the status of a Union territory. We need a separate identity.”
Earlier, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan had written a letter urging the Andhra Pradesh government to try and find a solution the border disputes.