Koraput: In an unexpected turn of events at Odisha-Andhra border in Koraput, residents of at least 14 villages under Salur block of Andhra Pradesh have expressed their desire to merge with Odisha.
Amid Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border dispute involving Kotia Gram Panchayat in Koraput where Andhra Pradesh has been claiming its rights on four of the bordering villages, still languishing in the Supreme Court, news of Andhra villagers wishing to merge with Odisha has come as a surprise for many.
Two contrasting pictures; one of AP's Kodama Panchayat where locals have to use make-shift stretchers to carry patients to hospital without an all weather road and the other one of smooth pitch-black roads in Talagumandi Panchayat under Narayanpatna block in Odisha's Koraput just few kilometres away from their village, describe the plight of Andhra villagers quite well.
As per reports, the need for communication with good motorable roads and years of neglect by the AP government has led the locals abhor the local administration.
Krishna Sidarappu, a local from Kodama Panchayat in AP said, "We are suffering a lot for roads. All the residents of this Panchayat want to merge with Odisha only because AP government did not provide us with roads even after years of persuasion."
Similarly, another local of Kodama said, "Forget about the ambulance, even the government officials do not come here because there is no road to this village.
It is worthwhile mentioning here that, following the continued request by the locals of Kodama, the former MP of Koraput, Jayaram Pangi and former district Collector Gadadhar Parida had visited their village few days back to discuss their plights and assured them to speak to the CM of Andhra Pradesh and with the Centre to construct road here.
"I have calculated that if only 100 kms of roads could be sanctioned here, then all the villages can be connected in this area," Pangi had said.
Gadadhar Parida, the former Collector said, "There are no roads here in Andhra Pradesh and yet its officials are eyeing Odisha's villages. It is ridiculous."
(Edited By Suryakant Jena)