BERHAMPUR: In a blatant display of high-handedness, over 300 Andhra Pradesh officials and political leaders led by Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries Dr Appalaraju reopened an Anganwadi centre in Gajapati district on Thursday.
The centre at Manikpatana village under Raigada block was sealed off three days ago as it was reportedly built by Andhra Pradesh on Odisha land. Taking the Gajapati administration by surprise, the Andhra Pradesh team then assembled the village students, distributed eggs and also taught them at the centre.
Speaking to mediapersons, the Andhra Pradesh Minister said no action by the Odisha government in "Andhra limits" will be tolerated and criminal proceedings will be initiated against those who sealed the Anganwadi. He went on to claim that half of Manikpatana village belongs to Andhra Pradesh and the other half to Odisha. As news of the Andhra Pradesh Minister's visit spread, Gajapati ADM Sangram Panda along with police and other officials of the district administration reached the spot.
They tried to pacify the Andhra Pradesh authorities while the latter demanded deployment of police personnel in the disputed area and action against all those who create tension. The ADM informed that the Anganwadi centre was sealed as it was built illegally on the Odisha side and the landowner had filed a complaint of encroachment.
A meeting of Collectors of both Gajapati and Srikakulam (Andhra Pradesh) administrations was planned after the Anganwadi centre was sealed but the incident occurred before that. One has to go through Andhra Pradesh in order to reach the village and a direct road to the village within Odisha limits is the need of the hour, Panda said.
"We even showed the Andhra Pradesh officials and leaders the map and ownership of land. Today's incident will be placed before the Gajapati Collector for further course of action," he added. The Andhra Pradesh government’s aggression at Odisha borders has shown no signs of a let-up even after a flare-up at Kotia panchayat in Koraput.