Mrunal Manmay Dash

In a first in recent times, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh will call on his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik on November 9 in Bhubaneswar to discuss several pending issues between the two states.

While the exact agenda of the AP CM, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is still unclear, the two Chief Ministers are expected to discuss the issues related to construction of Neradi barrage across river Vamsadhara.

As per a report in The New Indian Express, The Vamsadhara Water Disputes Tribunal had permitted Andhra Pradesh to go ahead with the construction of Neradi barrage. The AP government agreed to pay compensation for the submerged lands and rehabilitation of the displaced people in Odisha, but the Odisha government is yet to respond to the proposal.

Sources said the project is expected to submerge over 106 acres of land in Rayagada and Gajapati districts of Odisha. Jagan is likely to take up the issue with Naveen to end the impasse.

Apart from that, the Polavaram issue may be raked up at the meet, but given the issue which is subjudice in the Supreme Court the assumption is unlikely to materialise.

Former Chief Engineer of the Water Resource Department, Ramesh Tripathy said, “The AP CM might have come here with a particular agenda. If he brings any proposal to the discussion table then the Odisha government will definitely weigh all the options before deciding on it.”

as far as Polavaram project is concerned, it is less likely that the issue will be discussed because it is still subjudice in the SC and the issue concerns Telangana,” Tripathy added.

However, the Opposition in Odisha which spotted a chance to discuss the unlawful encroachment of Andhra into Odisha several times, has raised the heat on the Odisha government demanding CM Naveen to bring the Kotia issue on the table with Reddy on Tuesday.

Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Congress MLA from Jeypore said, “The CM should discuss the Kotia issue with Reddy. Their encroachment has surpassed all limits. It is high time that the issue is discussed.”

Similarly, BJP leader Jayaram Pangi said that the Odisha government should pressurise AP to maintain status quo in the disputed areas of Koraput as per a Supreme Court ruling in 2016.

Eswar Chandra Panigrahi, BJD leader said, “It is true that Andhra Pradesh has been continuously encroaching into Odisha and I hope that the issue will be discussed and a solution will come out.”

It is pertinent to maintain here that The dispute over Kotia is a long-pending border issue between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Both the States have been claiming their sovereign rights over the area, which consists of 27 small tribal hamlets at the border.

On April 8, 2021 the Andhra government had conducted Panchayat elections after changing the names of Ganjeipadar, Phaguna Sineri and Phaatu Sineri.