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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Amidst the on-going border dispute between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi on Tuesday sought to make it clear that Odisha will not give away even an inch of its’ territory to any of the neighbouring states.

“The Odisha government is aware of the situation and is taking all possible measures to protect our territory, he said.

“There are some issues and we are trying to extend all facilities to the people living in the border areas. We have already issued the necessary instructions to concerned officials to stop any encroachment,” said Marndi.

The statements of Marndi assumes considerable significance against the backdrop of the Andhra Pradesh government’s alleged ploy to encroach upon Odisha’s territory. The alleged transgression has been observed at Sambai panchayat in Koraput recently.

As per reports, the inhabitants and local leaders in bordering villages of Andhra Pradesh have blocked the road at Sunabeda village connecting Araku, for the last seven days.

It is alleged that villagers from Odisha are being attacked while entering into their territory. Though Andhra Pradesh officials had erected milestone and welcome board after conducting unilateral land measurements, those were removed by Odisha officials.

In a retaliatory action, the inhabitants of Andhra Pradesh and their local leaders have now blocked the road.

Meanwhile, Koraput Collector Madhusudan Mishra said that already the Tehsildar and BDO have been asked to submit a report on the issue at the earliest.

“Whenever there is an adjoining border, only bilateral surveys or land measurement is acceptable and can be termed valid. The way Andhra Pradesh officials are unilaterally conducting their own survey makes the exercise invalid,” said Mishra.

According to the Collector, the district administration will approach both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh governments for a joint survey to resolve the issue.

As the stand-off continues, two separate teams constituted by the Congress party and BJP, led by former MLA Rama Chandra Kadam and former MP Jayaram Pangi, respectively visited the spot to take stock of the situation and the measures taken by the Odisha government on the entire issue.

“They have encroached the entire place. The matter can be resolved in one day by the collectors of Visakhapatnam and Koraput. But it seems the Odisha government has no interest in the matter,” said former Legislator, Ram Chandra Kadam.

“Till both the State governments carry out proper demarcation, there is every possibility of a clash between the villagers,” said BJP leader, Jayaram Pangi.

It is not for the first time that Andhra Pradesh tried to transgress into Odisha territory. As per the data furnished by the State government in the Assembly, Andhra Pradesh is now eyeing 22 bordering villages in Koraput district alone.

The disputed territories extend from Kotia to Narayanpatna and upto Langalbeda.
Congress MP from Koraput, Saptagiri Ulaka, on the other hand, blamed the Odisha government for such misdemeanour by neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

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