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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Koraput: In a welcome development that promises to diffuse the month-long tension between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, the authorities from districts of the two neighbouring states held talks at the border post to demarcate boundaries.

A team from Visakhapatnam administration represented Andhra Pradesh while Koraput ditrict administration was representing Odisha in the meeting. Apart from that, teams from Odisha Revenue and Forest departments were present at the meeting site at Sambai Panchayat office.

If reports are to be believed, the GPS mapping of the border is being done in lines with the Madras Presidency Map, the survey of which has started from today. The much-needed move came after Andhra Pradesh claimed its right on areas in Kotia, Sambai and now Jamuguda.

A local of Sambai said, "We want the dispute to be resolved soon. We will not cede an inch of our land to Andhra Pradesh."

Even though some locals of Andhra Pradesh initially sat on dharna protesting the joint survey, later they were pacified and they agreed to keep peace until the entire mapping process is completed.

Koraput Collector, Madhusudan Mishra who led the Odisha delegation in the meet said, "We agreed to locate the inter-state border stones first after which Andhra Pradesh administration will take GPS coordinates of those locations."

"Above all, both the parties agreed to keep peace in the border areas," added Mishra.

The dispute over territory had erupted in Koraput district in early November after an information board put up by the administrative officials of Odisha government was reportedly demolished by the residents of Andhra Pradesh in the bordering areas of Sunabeda village under Pottangi block of Koraput.

Given the sensitivity of the issue, even Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had to get involved in the issue who had shot off a letter to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seeking urgent measures to resolve the on-going border disputes with neighbouring states. He had urged CM Patnaik to take the support of the Central Government in mediating a resolution over the boundary dispute.

Notably, Odisha has lingering boundary disputes with not only Andhra Pradesh but several other states like, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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