BHUBANESWAR: The Opposition on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on the State government for neglecting the border villages and its failure to prevent Andhra Pradesh from holding panchayat elections in some Kotia villages.
Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik, who recently visited some disputed areas of Koraput and Gajapati districts, was strident in his attack saying that the government is responsible for the present situation as basic facilities like education, healthcare, drinking water and communication still elude the people of Kotia and other border areas of the State. “A sense of deprivation has forced them to rely more on Andhra government. If the government does not take urgent steps to look into the development aspects of the border areas, the situation will go out of control. The welfare schemes of the State are not reaching the people, government schools have no teachers and government officials rarely seen. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh officials are taking care of them even if they have no offices,” he said.
Senior Congress member Taraprasad Bahinipati lambasted the BJD government for doing nothing for the development of border areas despite in power for more than two decades. In 2018, when Andhra government nominated sarpanch in Kotia, Congress was first to reach there, he added.In reply to a discussion on the admissibility of adjournment motion, Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi said 14 districts of the State share border with other states of which seven districts - Koraput, Ganjam, Gajapati, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Nuapada - have disputes with the neighbouring states.
On the Kotia dispute, the Minister said the State government has sought four weeks time from Supreme Court for filing counter affidavit against Andhra government which submitted its reply on February 17.
On border dispute with West Bengal, Marndi said senior officials of both the states will hold a meeting at Midnapore on Thursday to decide a date for demarcation of boundary. Asserting that unauthorised entry into Odisha territory by other states will not be tolerated, Marndi said official level discussions are on with Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and all other states to resolve the disputes.BJP MLA Mohan Majhi said the Minister’s reply on Kotia has no meaning. The border disputes will be resolved soon if the State government accepts the BJP proposal to involve all MLAs and ministers, he said.