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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: Making it clear that the State will not give up the fight to protect its territory, Odisha government has reportedly planned to move Supreme Court against Andhra Pradesh over the ongoing border dispute in Kotia region of Koraput district.

As per reports, the Additional District Collector of Koraput and the government lawyer on Monday met the Advocate General in Cuttack to discuss the road map to take on the neighbouring state legally.

As stopping Andhra from conducting panchayat elections in the Kotia region is the first priority of the Odisha government, it will move the apex court soon, said sources.

While Odisha government officials are yet to make any comment on the same, senior layers opined that the Centre is the only hope left for the State and not the SC. They said that the State can take up the matter with the Home Ministry.

"Inter-state boundary dispute can only be referred to the Home Department of Government of India. Either of the states can complain and the Ministry will entertain it. The Centre will then raise the matter in Parliament and resolve it," said senior lawyer, Manas Mohapatra.

Mohammad Sarif, chief of the House Committee which visited Odisha today to address problems being faced by students in bordering areas, said that both the states should resolve the issue through discussion.

"An amicable decision needs to be taken through a discussion between the two states. There's need to know the language, culture and the desire of people residing there and resolve the dispute through discussion at the earliest," said Sarif.

Speaking on the issue, Odisha School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash said, "On a personal level, I have told the chairman and members of the House Committee that whatever happened in Kotia is not right."

Meanwhile, locals of Kotia have categorically narrated the reasons why they are inclining towards Andhra Pradesh.

While Kotia people are getting Rs 500 as pension under various heads from Odisha government, Andhra is giving Rs 2250. Similarly, when Odisha is providing only free uniform to students on getting admission to schools, Andhra is giving Rs 15,000 per student on admission annually.
Besides, those having forest land pattas are getting assistance of Rs 13,500 from the neighbouring state. These apart, Andhra is giving 35 kg rice per family in Kotia as compared to Odisha's 5 kg rice.

Meanwhile, former Koraput collector Gadadhar Parida said that the Odisha government needs to take proactive steps to thwart the plans of Andhra Pradesh as the latter is proving much more to Kotia people as compared to Odisha.

On the other hand, a day after the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Southern Division) T Apang visited three villages in Kotia panchayat, two administrative officials of Andhra Pradesh- sub-collector of Parvatipuram and Tehsildar of Salur- reportedly visited the region and even met locals.

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