VIJAYAWADA: The Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha — Sameer Sharma and Suresh Chandra Mahopatra respectively — have resolved to settle pending inter-state issues in a cordial atmosphere. They agreed to resolve the issue of the Kotia group of villages located on the borders of AP and Odisha at the district level based on the maps with the district collectors concerned. The decisions were taken during the virtual meeting held by Sharma with his Odisha counterpart on Monday.
Alleging regular incursion of AP officials into disputed villages of Kotia panchayat, the Odisha government on Monday sought the intervention of the Supreme Court for restraining the public servants and agencies of the neighbouring state from intruding, trespassing or in any way interfering with the administration of the area. In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the Odisha government made a prayer that the disputed villages of Kotia be declared a part and parcel of Odisha.
After the meeting of Chief Ministers of both the states in Bhubaneswar recently, committees of officials were constituted under the chairmanship of both the Chief Secretaries. Both the committees met virtually on Tuesday and reviewed the pending issues. Speaking on the occasion, Sharma urged his Odisha counterpart to strive for addressing the pending issues through talks. He pointed out that several issues related to the transport department had already been resolved.
The Odisha Chief Secretary observed that the meeting of the committees will come in handy for resolving the issues that came up for discussion during the meeting of the Chief Ministers. He underscored the need for completing the road connectivity works in the border villages.
Reviewing sanction of No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from both the states for the construction of Neredi barrage on Vamsadhara river, Janjavathi reservoir and release of water from Bahuda river to pump storage projects, AP Special Chief Secretary KS Jawahar Reddy said that as per the inter-state agreement, water should not be released to Balimela powerhouse from Balimela pump storage. Saying that the Odisha is yet to hand over 106 acres for Neredi barrage, he opined that both the states will get benefited by completing a joint survey, handing over the said land and completing the barrage works in time.
The project, once completed, will help provide drinking water to 75 villages in five mandals of the Vizianagaram district. However, the joint survey on submerge area is pending and construction of project is getting delayed as the Odisha government is yet to conduct ‘Gram Sabhas’ in the submerging areas despite several appeals by AP.
As per the agreement, the Odisha government should release 1.50 TMCs of water to AP from Bahuda river from June to December, but it was not done, resulting in losses to farmers of the area.
Odia, Telugu in varsities
The officials held talks on the introduction of Odia and Telugu in Dr. Br Ambedkar University in Srikakulam and Berhampur University in Odisha, respectively. AP appointed workers who know Odia in 106 Anganwadis in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam.