JEYPORE: Renewing its aggressive posture in the disputed Kotia cluster of villages, Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday laid foundation stone for several projects in the area, taking the Odisha administration by complete surprise.
An AP team, led by project administrator of Parvatipuram ITDA P Kurmanath and officials from Salur under Vizianagaram district arrived at Phatu Senari and Phaguna Senari villages where they conducted “bhumi puja” for an anganwadi center, arogya center, farmers’ hall and panchayat office besides carrying out a plantation drive.
The spate of activities by officials of the neighbouring state caught the Koraput administration unawares which had put up a strong show to thwart the AP moves on Independence Day. However, only a handful of locals accompanied them to the sites and the officials went back to AP after conducting the “bhumi puja” quietly. Before returning, they told the locals that the planned establishments will be beneficial for them.
Earlier, the AP officials and political parties from Viziangaram district had not only planned “bhumi puja” for government offices but also wanted to rename the villages in Telugu. That was neutralized when leaders of all political parties and Koraput administration camped at Phatu Senari and sealed the border to stop any movement from AP side. Police and magistrates were deployed for maintaining law and order too.
Koraput Collector Md Abdaal Akhtar did not respond while BDO of Pottangi block Ved Bhushan said that he got information about the “bhumi puja” through media only. “The AP side should maintain status quo in Kotia as per orders of the Supreme Court and not violate it”, he added.
The two states have been at loggerheads over boundary demarcation as well as ownership of Kotia cluster of villages. After unveiling welfare schemes in Kotia last year, AP tried to hold panchayat elections too in bordering areas. On its part, Odisha Government has hit back with announcement of a slew of development plans besides grounding infrastructure projects.