Mrunal Manmay Dash

Odisha faced another instance of aggressive intrusion by Andhra Pradesh into the State’s bordering areas on Tuesday after officials from the southern state visited a temporary Anganwadi centre they had set up at Manikpatna village, under Gangabada Panchayat, which the district administration of Gajapati had sealed two days back.

As per reports, the officials of the Andhra Pradesh government had established a temporary Anganwadi centre in the tribal village of Manikpatna. However, the Gajapati district officials shut down the centre after conducting an enquiry into intrusion two days back.

However, tension prevailed in the village on Tuesday when the officials of the AP government visited the village to reopen the centre and came face to face with the district officials of Gajapti who were already there for some ground work.

The Sarpanch of Gangabada, Ramu Sabar said, "The Anganwadi worker requested the Odisha officials to close the centre if they deem it fit."

"The officials of Andhra Pradesh visited today, but did not speak to anybody here in the village. They did their survey and returned," Sabar said.

The neighbouring Andhra Pradesh's intrusion into Odisha's territory is not new as several instances of its forceful trespass has been reported in the recent past along the bordering districts of Koraput, Rayagada and Gajapati.

The same Manikpatna village was in the news recently when the officials of Andhra Pradesh government, who had reportedly come to conduct Panchayat elections in the village, fled the spot without being able to answer questions posed by Odisha BJP leaders touring the villages in Odisha-AP border in Koraput and Gajapati in February this year.

As per reports, when the BJP team arrived at Manikpatna village, some officials of Andhra Pradesh including an SP and Sub-Collector were already there discussing the modalities for conducting AP Gram Panchayat elections with the locals.

However, the AP officials had to beat a retreat following discussion with the BJP leaders who asked them to show the joint survey map, if any, to validate AP's claims on the village.