Suryakant Jena

Amid escalating border tensions between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday sought the personal intervention of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to set grounds for a peaceful bilateral resolution of the dispute.

The Union Minister termed the spread of the border skirmishes from 20 odd villages under Kotia Gram Panchayat to other border villages in Koraput and Gajapati districts as ‘unfortunate’ and ‘matter of serious concern’.

Expressing his worries over the row, Pradhan said the present volatile situation arising out of inter-state conflicts on the issue of delimitation of physical boundaries is uncalled for. They have the potential to derail the on-going developmental initiatives and nullify the peace dividends which have accrued over the years in these areas, he said.

Situations like these would only fuel mistrust and prop up the divisive forces to work against the socio-political and economic interests of both the States, added Pradhan.

The Union Minister pointed out that settling boundary issues are time-consuming and require intense parleys coupled with involvement of a mature political leadership at the highest levels, based on mutual trust and cooperation between the states.

“As an Odia it pains me to see the distress and suffering of the people of Koraput and Gajapati. On behalf of the Union Government and in my personal capacity, I assure you of my support and availability in facilitating an amicable environment for bilateral talks and peaceful resolution of the dispute,” Pradhan wrote in his letter to Reddy.

Pradhan highlighted the following suggestive measures for consideration of the Chief Minister to create conducive atmosphere for the talks between the States.

  1. Retreat Of armed police forces in the ' disputed villages and immediate withdrawal -of cases registered against local representatives and government officials with police in both the states;
  2. Except for essential public utility facilities of rural infrastructure, health, education and basic civic amenities, new structural construction and earth moving activities be put on hold, as these actions have led to the ongoing altercations
  3. Bilateral discussions between the Chief Ministers to lay the broad parameters of future roadmap to address the issues
  4. Joint Working Group level talks at the level of Chief Secretaries/ Development Commissioners of both the States