In a fresh face-off between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh (AP) over the contentious Kotia Panchayat in Koraput district, the local administration foiled an attempt by an MLA from the neighbouring state to host a series of political events at Phatusineri village under the Panchayat on Monday.
As per reports, the MLA of Salur Legislative Constituency (AP), Rajan Dora was due to host several political and cultural events at Phatusineri. The Project Director of Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) at Parvatipuram among others were supposed to join the programme.
However, taking cognizance of the sensitivity of the ground situation in Kotia where the AP Government had conducted Panchayat elections recently, the Koraput district administration and local political leaders foiled their bid by placing barricades at the State border between Odisha’s Phatusineri and AP’s Nandagram.
Senior BJP leader Jayram Pangi and other political leaders, including members of the ‘Ama Kotia’ Organisation, took stock of the situation at the border and helped the police and district administration to keep the intruders away.
Expressing anguish over the event, Pangi said, “I want to send a strong warning to the Andhra Pradesh government that they will never be successful in taking over Kotia panchayat. It is an integral part of Odisha State and nobody can deny it.”
District Collector and Magistrate, Abdaal M Akhtar said, “We received information that some political people from AP are trying to organise cultural programmes at Kotia. We deployed police personnel at the spot to ward off any potential law and order situation.”
“We are in touch with the Vizianagaram district administration. Since the issue concerning Kotia is already sub-judice, we asked them to resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner. Any unilateral action on the ground will never be acceptable for Odisha,” Akhtar added.
Notably, Kotia was recently in the limelight over the conduct of Panchayat elections by Andhra Pradesh while the dispute over 21 villages under the panchayat is still sub-judice.