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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Koraput/Bhubaneswar: The Odisha unit of BJP on Monday targeted the State government over the ongoing border dispute with Andhra Pradesh and alleged that the locals of Kotia in Koraput district are increasingly siding with Andhra Pradesh after being deprived of basic facilities like road communication, healthcare and education.

Addressing a presser, BJP State Vice-President, Balabhadra Majhi said that the Odisha government is not even aware of the fact that Andhra Pradesh has already accorded Panchayat status to three villages and is all set to conduct elections on February 13 and 17 by changing their names.

"Some locals of those three villages are aspiring to become sarpanchs and have already filed nomination papers because AP has elevated the status of those villages to Panchayats. So it is natural that they are inclining towards AP," Majhi said.

"Had Odisha government shown intent to address their issues, this situation would not have arisen today," he added.

Majhi thanked the locals of Swabhiman Anchal in Malkangiri who did not restore to such move even after being denied land rights.

"I would take this opportunity to thank the locals of Swabhiman Area in Malkangiri, who despite not getting land ownerships in their villages, are still with Odisha. It is only because they are emotionally attached with Odisha," Majhi concluded.

Notwithstanding the fact that, Andhra Pradesh had already announced panchayat elections in villages of Kotia panchayat to be held on February 13 and 17, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday unveiled a slew of developmental projects in the region.

Patnaik inaugurated a primary health centre, boys and girls hostels and other projects at Kotia panchayat through video-conferencing, which the locals termed as mere 'eyewash'.

(Edited By Ramakanta Biswas)

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