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Rashmi Rekha Das

Odisha government is clueless about the designs of the Andhra Pradesh government to firm up its authority in the disputed Kotia region by luring its residents through various welfare schemes. Such a shocking claim was made by none other than the State Revenue Minister Pramila Mallick.

Mallick was replying to a query raised by BJD MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik during the question & answer session in the State Assembly on Friday.

In his question, the senior BJD leader had sought an explanation as to what extent does the Odisha government know about its AP counterpart's intensified efforts to win Kotia residents’ confidence by implementing schemes similar to that of Odisha government.

Accusing the AP government of distributing forest land deeds and voter identity cards to Kotia residents unlawfully, Patnaik wanted to know about steps being taken by Odisha government to stop AP administration's intervention in such issues. Also, he wanted to know the steps being taken to refrain the AP government from intervening in other border areas of Odisha.

Replying to the MLA’s query, the Minister said “The state government is not aware of this issue. If the government comes to know about it, positive action will be taken against the AP government.”

It was learnt that the AP government keeps wooing Kotia residents by distributing forest land deeds and voter identity cards. Apart from holding health camps, the AP government is also reportedly providing ration cards, birth and death certificates, different allowances and land deeds to Kotia people.  

At a time when the AP government and district administrative officers in Odisha are at loggerhead over the issue, Mallick's statement has drawn criticism from all and sundry.

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