BHUBANESWAR: As Odisha’s dispute with Andhra Pradesh over Kotia villages remains unresolved for years, an Assembly Committee headed by Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro recommended that schools should not be shifted from the area despite low enrolment rate and attendance. Besides, it was also agreed that the State Government will be requested to open a police station in the area.
“People of the villages are now depending on Andhra Pradesh police station and we will request the Home department to set up a police station at the earliest,” the Speaker said.Both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh governments are engaged in a five-decade-long dispute claiming ownership of 21 villages in Kotia panchayat and a case is also sub-judice in the Supreme Court in this regard since 1968.
The Speaker said instructions have been issued to several departments not to shift any office or close down any school because of low attendance of employees and students. He said the Government has been requested to initiate steps to upgrade educational and cultural institutions of Odisha in the area.
However, despite efforts by the Odisha Government to claim ownership of Kotia villages, locals are availing benefits like old age pension and from welfare schemes from both the governments. As Odisha Government has almost zero presence in these areas, it has become easier for Andhra Pradesh to administer these villages.
The Speaker said the House Committee also discussed disputes over villages the Odisha has with the neighbouring States in other areas. Special measures will be initiated for 16 villages in Gajapati and 13 in Ganjam district over which Odisha Government has dispute with neighbouring States. Unauthorised sand mining from Subarnarekha river bed was also discussed, he added.
Official sources said required administrative and legal steps are being taken to resolve the disputes. Besides, official-level talks are being held to draw boundary with the neighbouring States. The highest number of border dispute cases are with the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh involving 48 villages spread over three districts of Koraput, Rayagada and Ganjam. The dispute with West Bengal is over five villages in Balasore and eight villages of Mayurbhanj district. Odisha and Chhattisgarh have disputes over four villages in Nabarangpur district.
Besides, there is dispute with Jharkhand over 24 villages in the bordering districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh.
Deputy Speaker Rajanikanta Singh, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Sudam Marndi, Minister of State for School and Mass Education Samir Ranjan Dash, Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra, former ministers Amar Prasad Satpathy and Anant Das were among others who attended the meeting.
- 48 in three districts of Koraput, Rayagada and Ganjam
- 16 in Gajapati
- 8 in M’bhanj
- 5 Balasore