Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Even as the standoff between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh on claiming control over a group of villages in Kotia region is yet to be resolved, the latter has once attempted to trigger controversy by with the government officials of the neighbouring state intruding into the contentious panchayat of Koraput district to lure the innocent villagers with different packages. 

As per reports, concerned authorities of the neighbouring states illustrated the micro-water-diversion project map on the walls of an Anganwadi centre in Uparsembi village of Kotia Panchayat to describe the project. Meanwhile,  several government officials of AP also visited Fagun Sineri to take stock of the construction works of an Anganwadi centre. However, the officials were opposed by the villagers. 

This is not the first instance when the government officials from the neighbouring state are intruding into the bordering villages on different occasions. The Jaganmohan Reddy government seems to be ignoring the legalized restrictions as well as the orders of the Supreme Court of India with the urge of expanding the state's territory. The government officials are leaving no stone unturned to gain control over the group of villages in Kotia region.

"It is not enough to build a hospital or a college in Kotia. The needful must be done to ensure proper education facilities. Even everyone must get healthcare facilities. Moreover, the residents should remain ensured about employment. If the residents get these facilities, they won't get allured by the schemes offered by the Andhra government," said Baidyanath Gemel, a resident of Kotia.

Meanwhile, Tikai Gemel, a Zilla Parishad Member from Kotia said, "I would request our government to provide rice and pension to every household just like Andhra Pradesh. "

It seems the Andhra Pradesh government has chalked out master plans under which it is offering different schemes to lure the villagers. The officials of the neighbouring state have intensified their actions after the Chief Secretary of Odisha, Suresh Mohapatra visited the disputed region to analyse the situation. Mohapatra also had held discussions with the locals which has streamed fear among the administrative officials of AP.  

Following the Panchayat elections, the neighbouring state has intensified its actions to ensure that the villagers are getting basic facilities. The officials have put up posters of their CM in different locations.

The recent action of the neighbouring state in which it added 28 villages of the contentious panchayat to its newly demarcated map, had sparked controversy. As per the new map released by the Andhra government, 28 villages and 12 other places in Kotia region have found their place in the newly carved out Parvatipuram Manyam district. In Telugu, Manyam means backward region.

After the appointment of Salur MLA Rajanna Dora as the Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh along with charges of Tribal development, the neighbouring state has chalked out a master plan to target the Kotia residents with different development schemes. 

"The district administration along with the government (Andhra Pradesh) are focused on capturing the bordering villages. The efforts have been intensified after Salur MLA became the Deputy Chief Minister. Odisha government should give prime focus to resolve the issue," said Jayram Pangi, a tribal leader.

Meanwhile, Patangi MLA Pitam Padhi said that whatever may be the plans, they will be opposed. 

"Kotia is an integral part of Odisha. It doesn't matter if they include the villages in Manam, Salur or Parbatipuram districts. Even it is not a matter of concern if any MLA, Deputy Chief Minister, Chief Minister or Governor plan to capture the regions," said Padhi.

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)