Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: Amid the ongoing tension between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh over conduct of elections in the disputed Kotia area, Leader of Opposition (LoP) Pradipta Nayak on Wednesday shot off a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and proposed formation of an independent agency to resolve the issues.

Stating that the residents living in the bordering area are inclining towards Andhra due to lack of basic facilities, Naik urged the State government to ensure education, healthcare, food and drinking water for the residents in the bordering areas.

In order to expedite the development process in the area, the LoP suggested giving responsibilities to the State planning and convergence department. "An independent agency in the name of Kotia Cluster Development Authority should be set up to resolve the Kotia row," Naik wrote in the letter.

Naik further stated that a BJP delegation had visited Kotia area and took stock of the situation. He demanded that the State government should extend bus services to the areas.

"I spoke to a few women there, but they do not understand Odia. That's because the State government has not made efforts in this regard. Had multi-language teachers been posted there, they would have learned Odia," Naik said.

Naik said though the region has schools and offices of the Odisha government, no government officials were present there. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh has appointed officers for the area even if it does not have offices.

Old age pension and other government benefits of Andhra Pradesh are being given to the residents of Kotia as a result, the residents are inclining towards the neighbouring State. At present, Rs 2250 is given as old-age pension by Andhra in the border area, Naik added.

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)