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Dilip Kumar

Paradip/Jagatsinghpur: The district administration of Jagatsinghpur has launched an inquiry into the allegations of casting of votes by some fishermen from Telugu community in Paradip in the ongoing panchayat polls in Andhra Pradesh.

The administration has formed a special team to investigate the matter. If the fishermen are found utilising dual voter IDs, action will be taken as per the guidelines of election commission, Jagatsinghpur Collector Sangram Keshari Mohapatra said.

"Some journalists brought the matter to my notice. It was also published in section of media. A team of officials led by Executive Officer of Paradip Municipality carried out an inquiry. The officials found that some have left for Andhra to cast their votes. But, some have returned from mid way on receiving information about the inquiry," the Collector added.

The team has been directed to submit a report.  If the fishermen are found to have two voter IDs, action will be taken as per law, Mohapatra said.

Sources said some Telugu fishermen residing in various slums in Paradip have rushed to the Andhra Pradesh to cast votes in the rural polls. Following the reports, the district administration took measures to identify the persons who possessed dual voter identity cards.

As per the media reports, some leaders from Andhra Pradesh were seen campaigning in the slums in the port town in Odisha. Hundreds of fishermen left for their native places in Andhra to cast votes.

Nearly 5000 fishermen have been residing in slums in Paradip for a long time and availing benefits from Odisha government.

Locals alleged that many Telugu fishermen have voter ID and ration cards in both AP and Odisha. They are enjoying benefits from both the states.

The Panchayat polls in Andhra Pradesh are being held in four phases on February 5, 9, 13 and 17.

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