Bhubaneswar: In ongoing dispute between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to claim sovereign rights over Kotia Gram Panchayat in Koraput district, the neighbouring Stare is reportedly planning to put up Telugu signages in 22 cluster villages on Independence Day.
According to reports, the Lok Satta Party working president and a few party workers had visited the cluster villages in Kotia a few days ago. They advised the locals to include in Andhra Pradesh.
On Sunday, a delegation of the political party met Parvathipuram Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) Project Officer R Kurmanath and gave him a proposal for promotion of Telugu language in the disputed cluster villages of Kotia Gram Panchayat in Odisha. The party also suggested the official to put up signages written in Telugu in 22 villages bordering Andhra Pradesh.
Reports said that the ITDA PO has prepared a file after consulting with the senior officials of Andhra Government to put up the Telugu signages in Kotia. A few hours after preparing the official document, it was sent to the Vizianagaram Collector for final call.
If the proposal gets nod from the district collector, the Telugu signages are likely to be put up in bordering villages in Kotia on August 15.
As majority of villagers in Kotia speak Telugu and depend on Andhra Pradesh for livelihood, reports said that the neighbouring State is planning to divide the disputed region based on languages.
Reports said that Andhra Government has plan to celebrate the 75th Independence Day in a grand manner in villages in Kotia by executing a few developmental programmes on the August 15.
Reacting to the proposed plan, Jeypore MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said that Andhra’s mischievous plan will never be successful at any cost.
“Cutting across the partylines, we will stay united over the issue and will not allow Andhra officials to enter into Kotia,” he said warning Andhra Government of bloodshed if the police of the neighbouring State dare to enter Kotia.
“If the Andhra Police personnel entered into Kotia, they would not be able to make a comeback to their State,” the Congress leader threatened.
Amidst COVID-19 pandemic situation, Odisha Government seems to have put aside the territorial dispute pertaining to Kotia Gram Panchayat in Koraput district.
More than six months after the House Committee meeting, the members are yet to make a visit to the disputed region to connect with tribal residents in Kotia and monitor the situation.
As the Andhra Pradesh Government was gearing up for holding the panchayat elections in the disputed region, Kotia was in key focus at the meeting of House Committee, which was constituted to settle State’s bordering issue, held in January this year.
Source said that at the meeting, the members decided to visit Kotia in a phased manner. Surprisingly, neither the House panel members nor any top government officials did make a plan for the trip to the disputed region. Although there was plenty of time in hand before COVID-19 second wave, nobody took up the matter as an urgent task.
Bahinipati raised question over the intention of the House Committee asking, “What the House panel is doing? Whether Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro is favouring Andhra Pradesh? Why he had not included us in the committee?”
On the other hand, the people of the State are in the dark as to whether the Revenue Department is preparing a blueprint for Kotia.
Even as the matter is sub-judice in the Supreme Court, the Andhra Government is not ready to accept it. The neighbouring State Government had also conducted elections in Kotia to claim its rights over the panchayat that comes under Pottangi Block in Koraput district.
In the meantime, turmoil has intensified in Kotia with ‘illegal’ intervention of Andhra Government in Odisha’s territory. But, the House Committee is still silent on the matter.
Recently, the Andhra administration has become active again in Kotia. On Saturday, the Pottangi MLA Pitam Padhi and a few district administrative officials patrolled in the region as Andhra Government had a programme to distribute RoR (land documents) among tribals in some villages bordering Odisha.
Here the question arises as to how long the legislator will guard the border. It’s high time, the State Government needs to take concrete steps for permanent solution to the issue.
As the political programmes are in full swing in different places, there is no obstacle in visiting Kotia to monitor the situation. The House Committee members need to head for the place, build trust among the locals and boost the morale of the district administration, the experts opined.
The responsible citizens stated that the sensitive issue should not be handed over to the district administration alone. A high-level meeting was held at the Lok Seva Bhawan, but the situation was not reviewed. The Government has remained silent after building a few infrastructure in Kotia. Such an approach by the government is likely to paralyze the State again.