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Dilip Kumar

Cuttack: The Bharatiya Bikash Parishad, a social organisation on Wednesday filed a PIL in the Orissa High Court seeking direction to the State government to take appropriate measures to safeguard its border with Andhra Pradesh and stop the panchayat elections being conducted by the neighbouring State in the disputed region of Kotia in Koraput district.

The petitioner has made the Home and Revenue Secretaries along with three Collectors parties in the case.

The move comes a day after the Odisha government asked the Advocate on Record (AOR)-Sibo Sankar Mishra to file a writ a petition in the Supreme Court against Andhra Pradesh's announcement for panchayat polls at three villages of Kotia.

Odisha Law Department, in a letter to Mishra, stated "You (Mishra) are engaged to file Writ Petition before the Supreme Court challenging the notification of State Election Commission, Andhra Pradesh to hold panchayat election in three villages of Kotia which are within the territory of Odisha."

Mishra is the AOR Supreme Court lawyer empanelled by the government of Odisha to appear for in cases before the Apex court.

The Revenue and Disaster Management department has been asked to provide all relevant documents for filing the petition.

The State government has pointed out that Andra Pradesh took the unilateral decision on holding panchayat polls even as the border dispute involving Kotia is sub-judice in the Supreme Court.

It is worth mentioning that Kotia dispute is a long pending border issue between Andhra Pradhesh and Odisha. Both the States have been claiming sovereign rights over the area, which consist of 27 small tribal hamlets on the border.

Andhra Pradesh has announced to conduct panchayat elections in three villages-Talaganjeipadar, Phatuseneri and Phagunaseneri of Kotia on February 13 and 17.

The neighbouring State has listed these three villages of Odisha's Koraput district under Salur Mandal in Vizianagaram.

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