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Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: The Andhra Pradesh government has not only made efforts to cement its control over Kotia Gram Panchayat in Koraput district but also some other bordering villages in Ganjam and Gajapati districts.

As per sources, the district administration of Srikakulam of Andhra Pradesh has distributed ration cards to people in as many as six villages under Gangabad panchayat in Gajapati district. Not only this, but a candidate named Laxmi Sabar has also won as a ward member in the election conducted by AP in the Manikapatna village.

Acting on reports, Gajapati Sub-collector Sangram Panda conducted an on-spot review of the situation. He has also warned the local residents to refrain from taking help and also participating in the elections conducted by neighbouring government.

In another sensational development, such border dispute has also raised ugly head in Ganjam district. Bringing a fresh allegation, BJP State vice president Bhrugu Buxipatra said that the neighbouring state is conducting Panchayat elections at some of the bordering villages under Chikiti Assembly segment of Ganjam district.

"The Andhra Pradesh government has conducted panchayat polls not only in Kotia but also in other bordering villages in Patrapur under Chikiti Assembly constituency in Ganjam district. The State borders have turned insecure," Buxipatra said while participating in a debate on the border row.

He further said that Odia people in the bordering villages including Kotia and Patrapur are contesting elections from various political parties of Andhra Pradesh. People of these areas have two ration cards, two Aadhar cards, and other identity proofs. However, the Odisha government has never inquired into the matter, Buxipatra alleged.

Reacting to the BJP leader, Ganjam Collector Bijay Amruta Kulange said that the border dispute has been resolved with a fresh demarcation.

"There were some issues related to the border. We have fixed our areas with fresh demarcation by the local tehsildar. The residents are also availing all benefits from Odisha government", said Kulange.

Meanwhile, asked about the rising intrusion of the Andhra Pradesh government into several bordering villages of Odisha, State Revenue Minister Sudarm Marndi said, "No one will be allowed to claim even an inch of the land of our State. We are determined to take all possible steps to resolve any border disputes."

Recently, Andhra Pradesh announced to hold panchayat polls in three villages of Kotia panchayat in Koraput district, deepening the border dispute between the two states. The dates fixed by AP for the elections are February 13 and 17.

In the notification for the polls, Andhra Pradesh has included Talaganjeipadar, Phatuseneri and Phagunaseneri villages under its Salur block. Nominations for the elections can be filed till February 9. The AP administration has also started the poll process in Kurkuti panchayat under Salur block.

It is worth mentioning that residents of Kotia, which falls under Potangi block in Koraput, are also receiving government benefits from Salur in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. They also depend on both the blocks for their daily activities.

Worried over Andhra Pradesh's move, Odisha government has announced a slew of measures for the Kotia region. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday inaugurated and laid foundation stone of various development projects worth over Rs 18 crore in the panchayat. He also announced to make Kotia a model panchayat in the State.

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