Ramakanta Biswas

Koraput: Even as the Odisha government has announced a special package worth Rs 150 crore to execute developmental works on a war-footing at the disputed Kotia gram panchayat in Koraput district, the move seems to have failed to impress the local residents.

It may be noted that after alleged intrusion of Andhra Pradesh government in the Kotia area a year ago, Odisha government pulled up its socks to execute developmental works like setting up police station, hospitals, residential schools, cell phone towers and roads in the panchayat lying on the border between the two states.

However, the residents of the disputed area have alleged that the developments being undertaken by the Odisha government are just whitewash as they are still dependent on the Andhra government for their basic needs like drinking water, education.

While Koraput additional collector Deben Kumar Pradhan said that construction of police station in the area has been completed and all other development works will be completed within the next six months, reports said that the Andhra government has also decided to announce new schemes to lure the residents.

“Andhra government has ensured drinking water facilities from Galigebda to Renasinghi. Barring Kotia and Upargajeipadar, all other areas in the gram panchayat have electricity supply made by Andhra government,” said Bisu Megel, former sarpanch of Talaganjeipadar.

Alleging that the local authorities are not working as per the interests of the people and also not monitoring the projects properly, residents have demanded the district collector to take all responsibilities.

Gadadhar Parida, convenor of Ama Kotia Sangathan, said, “The district Collector makes field visits and he can feel the need of the people. He should be given all responsibilities. The committees which come and take up works here should take the opinion of collector.”

Asked, social activist Ranjit Pangi said, “The bridge construction work in the region is yet to begin. While Odisha government’s electricity connection has not reached 21 villages of the panchayat, the condition of schools and roads is bad as ever.”