BHUBANESWAR: Amid the continuing dispute over ownership of Kotia group of villages, the Odisha government on Tuesday made it clear to Andhra Pradesh that a joint demarcation committee of both the states at district-level would define the border area where maps are clear and not under dispute.
The Chief Secretaries of both the states had a virtual conference over inter-state issues including the border dispute on Tuesday. This is the first official level meeting between the two states following the decisions taken in the meeting between Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart YS Jagmohan Reddy here on November 9, 2021. They had agreed to work closely on resolving various inter-state issues with the dispute over the Kotia group of villages topping the agenda.
Other major issues like inter-state transportation, road connectivity, filling of the teaching posts in Odia and Telugu medium schools and colleges operating in both the states, and setting up of Odia Language Chair in Dr. BR Ambedkar University at Srikakulam and Telugu Language Chair in Berhampur University were mutually agreed to be carried forward.
Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra highlighted the need for road communication to Swabhiman Anchal from the Andhra side. He said that the area was well connected through Gurupriya Setu and the Maoist issues were curtailed significantly from the Odisha side.
He said road communication from the Andhra side would add to ending the problem of Left Wing extremism in the area. Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma welcomed the proposal and agreed to construct five major roads from the Andhra side. Managing directors of OSRTC and APSRTC would meet shortly for finalising the terms and conditions of reciprocal transport agreement between the two states.
The meeting also resolved that the joint technical committee would deliberate the issues relating to the proposed projects under the Water Resources department. It was further decided that the issues relating to Machhkund joint hydroelectric project would be examined by the project administration committee (PAC) under the co-chairmanship of the Principal Secretaries of Energy of both the states.
The meeting of the PAC would be convened shortly for carrying forward three small hydroelectric projects namely Balimela Dam Toe, Japaput SHEP, and Lower Machhkund SHEP. The matter relating to the issue of no-objection certificates from both sides for pump storage projects taking water from the reservoirs was discussed in detail. Mahapatra said that the certificates should be issued keeping in view the water share of each State as per the mutual agreement.