WB’s footprints in no-man’s land reignites border row with Odisha

Balasore: At a time when a territorial controversy has just reared head with Andhra Pradesh govt officers distributing doles in Odisha villages, illegal bulldozing of a public toilet and notice board reportedly by Bengal authorities in Udaypur Mouza of Balasore district which lies in fringe areas of Odisha and West Bengal has once again sparked a border dispute.

Udaypur adjoins East Medinipur district of West Bengal and its administration comes under Balasore district of Odisha. But for long some areas of the mouza have always faced identity crisis reportedly due to intrusion by West Bengal authorities.

According to sources, in its latest attempt, the neighbouring state authorities demolished a public toilet constructed near Udaypur Marine police station and also removed the no-man’s land signage erected to delineate the border.

Amid such palpable conflict, Odias living near the coast on the border are concerned over losing their livelihood and identity.

“West Bengal administration, personnel of forest department are trying to show their supremacy in the area. Our government has not managed to solve the border crisis due to which the peace and brotherhood of our locals is at stake,” a local resident said.

It is to be recalled that last year, Odisha government constructed a road in the mouza which was disputed by Medinipur district administration. After a joint meeting comprising collectors, SPs, revenue and forest department personnel of the adjoining districts of both the states, the area was declared no-man’s land and a notice board to that effect was erected to delineate the area.

“West Bengal government has already installed lights, better roads, parking facilities on their side but so far our administration is yet to take up any development works, Rajesh Kumar Pattayat, a local resident complained.

Meanwhile, Balasore collector Pramod Das has ruled out any border dispute with the neighbouring state. “Be it Udaypur or Jaleswar the earlier dispute between our state and Bengal has been resolved and we have already delineated our border with them,” he said.