In a fresh attempt to occupy the Kotia region of Odisha, located on the borders with Andhra Pradesh, the southern state is playing the gimmick of farm loans to induce the unsuspecting tribal population residing in the region.
A ground report exclusively carried out by OTV revealed that the neighbouring State has initiated a selection process for sanctioning farm loans to the residents against the land patta provided to them by the same government.
Following the notification by the Andhra government, as many as 30 residents belonging to Neredibalsa, Tadibalsa and Uparsembi villages in Kotia rushed to the Dandigam panchayat office under Salur block of Andhra and submitted their documents for availing the loans. The panchayat officials have assured them to do the needful for sanctioning of loans following due verification of documents.
The residents also admitted to have applied for the same.
“I need a loan for agriculture for which I visited here to submit the patta. It is not my land patta, but a forest land patta. We have got nothing except rice from Odisha government," said a woman resident from Nredibalsa.
Another resident said “We have come here for document verification for the sanction of loan. We have produced the patta and other documents.”
The fresh move by the Andhra Government followed the distribution of freebies like rice, health care, pension, blankets and free education in Kotia villages.
'Mo Kotia', a local social organization fighting for the rights of the local residents said that people would appreciate a government which helps them.
“ The Andhra Government can do what we haven't done. So, it’s quite natural that residents would appreciate the government which helps them,” said Convenor of Mo Kotia,.
Asked, Koraput Collector Abdul Akhtar said “People residing on border areas have been provided with land records. After that, if anybody provides them patta, it would not impact the ground realty.”
In 2008, the Odisha government had provided land records and houses to Kotia residents who include Andhra’s Dora community residing there. Many residents in Tadibalsa have alleged that they are still struggling to get land records from the Odisha government, which has provided them nothing but only a ration card.
Not only the residents of Tadibalsa, but some others in the locality have been demanding land patta from the Odisha government. As their plea fell on the deaf ears of the Odisha Government, Andhra took advantage and distributed them pattas in July this year.