Bhubaneswar: Amid mounting pressure and accusations from all quarters over the accelerating border disputes with neighbouring States, the Odisha government seems to have got into action mode and put on alert the collectors of 14 districts that share borders with other states.
State Revenue Department Principal Secretary Bishnupada Sethi has asked the Collectors of Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Gajapati and Ganjam to take up annual verification of boundary stones in the border villages.
Terming the annual verification of boundary stones, specifically in those villages sharing boundary with neighbouring states as an important component of revenue administration, Sethi said, "It appears that no such annual verification is being taken up as a result of which disputes arise."
"Henceforth annual verification of boundary stones shall be taken up meticulously and if any stone is missing, steps shall be taken by concerned Tehsildar to fix the stone(s)," Sethi added.
The Principal Secretary has also directed the collectors of these districts to submit fortnightly confidential report (FCR) on the boundary villages.
He said the revenue department has not received the report which should include progress of implementation of different schemes and any unusual event like developmental works taken up by other state Government in our territory.
"Since border villages are sensitive in connection with possible interference of neighbouring states, I would advise you to submit FCR to this Department every fortnight," he added.
Meanwhile, the State government has decided to take legal opinion from former Supreme Court Judge, Justice AK Pattanaik on the Kotia issue.
The revenue department Principal Secretary has asked Koraput Collector to proceed to New Delhi with all relevant files and records for briefing Justice AK Pattanaik on Kotia issue. The Collector has been asked to request Additional Government Advocate Suman Pattanayak to accompany him.
Recently, while speaking on the Kotia issue, State Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi had said, "Unauthorised possession of territory by neighbouring states will not be tolerated. We are looking into the border disputes with Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh and making all efforts to resolve it."
Despite the government's precautionary measures, numerous instances of border dispute continue to surface from different parts of the State. Denua village in Mayurbhanj district located on the Odisha-Jharkhand border and Nuamalpada in Nuapada on Chhattisgarh border have come up as the latest episodes in the series of unabated border dispute cases of Odisha with other neighbouring States.
Border dispute also continues in nine villages of Jaleswar in Balasore and 13 villages on the other side in West Bengal. Recently, administrative officials of both states installed boundary poles at 42 places.
"We have come for demarcation of boundary in Subarnarekha area on Odisha-West Bengal border," said a revenue official of West Bengal.
Dilip Chand, RI, Odisha said, "The officials of West Bengal are rechecking whether the pillars are erected at the right place. We will also visit the neighbouring state and examine the boundary. The inspection work is being undertaken in a phased manner."
(Edited By Suryakant Jena)