JEYPORE/KORAPUT: Taking advantage of the situation post cyclone Gulab, a group of miscreants backed by Andhra Pradesh government sneaked into Kotia in Koraput’s Pottangi and clandestinely put up signboards in Telugu in the disputed panchayat.
The administrative machinery of Koraput was busy mitigating the impact of cyclone Gulab in the worst-hit Pottangi block on Monday when a group of people from AP reached the panchayat and erected two signboards for Phatusenari, Daliamba, Kotia and Salpaguda villages.
While one signboard displayed the name of Phatusenari as Photuchinaru in Telugu, another put up at Harbhangi Chowk showed directions to Phatusenari, Daliamba, Salapguda and Kotia villages. Sources said the Pottangi administration had no direct road communication to these villages as the bridge near Medakar in Kotia was under water following the cyclone.
As the news of the incident spread, Koraput Collector Md Abdaal Akhtar sent a team to Kotia to take stock of the situation in these villages via Bandhugaon on Tuesday.Terming it the handiwork by anti-socials, Akhtar said this was a cowardly act as the signboards were put up in Kotia during a natural disaster when the Koraput administration was busy in rescue and relief operations.
“We condemn such unscrupulous acts in Kotia. The development works being carried out by Koraput administration in the panchayat will continue. We will take necessary action after getting report from our team which has been sent to Kotia,” the Collector added.
Earlier, AP’s Vizianagaram administration had planned to rename Kotia villages in Telugu on August 15 with support from political leaders of Salur. However, the Koraput administration put in place elaborate arrangements to thwart any such attempts by the neighbouring State.
Sources said a couple of weeks back, some representatives of a political party in AP had visited Kotia and reacted sharply against the ruling YSRCP government for absence of Telugu nameplates for villages. The latest development is seen to be a move by the AP government following its criticism.