The demand for Union Territory (UT) status for the undivided Koraput and parts of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh intensified after the first meeting of Dandakaranya Parbatmala Vikash Parishad, which was held on Sunday.
As per reports, apart from leaders from Odisha, former lawmakers and leaders from the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh attended the meeting.
Jayaram Pangi, the former Koraput lawmaker who quit the BJP and spearheading the campaign to seek Union Territory status, said that the main objective of the Parishad is to get the UT status for Dandakaranya Parbatmala.
"We will demand to accord UT status to Dandakaranya Parbatmala which includes undivided Koraput and parts of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh," said Jayaram Pangi, president of Dandakaranya Parbatmala Vikash Parishad, Koraput.
Gangadhar Swami Chetti, former MLA of Araku (Andhra Pradesh) said, "We don't have anyone to listen to our issues- no IAS, IPS or doctors. If we will be accorded the status we demand, our issues could be resolved."
Gangadhar Parida, convener of Ama Kotia Sanghatan, said that the state governments are not serious about the development of people living in the bordering areas; and hence, the only way to resolve the issues is to accord UT status to these areas.
"One of our ex-MLAs, who attended the meeting, said that no dispute should be cropped up between us. He said that neither their government nor the Odisha and the Chhattisgarh wants our development. So, all those neglected people need to come together to fight unitedly for the cause," he said.
Former Koraput lawmaker Jayaram Pangi on Tuesday announced his decision to quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and start a campaign to seek Union Territory status for undivided Koraput district and parts of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.