BHUBANESWAR: As the border dispute between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh continues to escalate, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has sought personal intervention of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to resolve the issue amicably.
In a letter to Reddy, the Union Minister requested for bilateral discussions with his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik and lay the broad parameters of future roadmap to address the problems.
"These skirmishes which started in 20 odd villages of Kotia panchayat in Pottangi block of Koraput district have unfortunately now spread to other border villages in Gajapati district. Needless to emphasise, these run-ins fuel inter-state border disputes and is a matter of serious concern," the letter said.
Pradhan added that such disputes pose a threat both to the security as well as developmental aspirations of people at border villages in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
He requested Reddy to create a conducive environment for talks between the two states by withdrawing armed police forces in the disputed villages and immediate withdrawal of cases registered against local representatives and government officials registered with police in both the states.
He assured all support of the Union Government and his availability for facilitating an amicable environment for bilateral talks and peaceful resolution of the dispute.
Noting that Odisha and Andhra Pradesh share much common history, developmental challenges and welfare objectives, Pradhan said the developmental initiatives of both the states in these remote areas have gone a long way in mitigating the threats arising from Left-wing extremism (LWE).
It is a matter of great satisfaction that the administration, police forces and political leadership of both the states have joined hands to curb the LWE and the combined efforts have ensured return of peace in these villages, he added.
"The present volatile situation arising out of inter-state conflicts on the issue of delimitation of physical boundaries is extremely unfortunate and uncalled for. They have the potential to derail the ongoing developmental initiatives and nullify the peace dividends which have accrued over the years in these areas," the Union Minister said.
He further said situations like these would only fuel mistrust and prop up divisive forces to work against the socio-economic-political and economic interests of both the states.
"I am sure you would appreciate that settling boundary issues are time-consuming and require intense parleys coupled with involvement of a mature political leadership at the highest levels, based on mutual trust and cooperation between states. There is a need for building an enabling environment to facilitate talks between the states in view of the flared-up situation on ground," Pradhan said.