Odisha team once again thwarts Andhra officials’ attempt to enter Kotia

Bhubaneswar: A team from Odisha today thwarted at attempt by the officials of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to enter Kotia group of villages under Pottangi block in Koraput district amid the ongoing territorial dispute between the two states.

A group of officials from Andhra Pradesh was supposed to visit Phatu Sineri village of Kotia panchayat today.

On being informed, a team from Odisha comprising Koraput Zilla Parishad (ZP) Chairperson Sasmita Meleka, ZP member Laichhan Khara and officials from Pottangi block reached Kotia and confronted the officials of Andha Pradesh on their way to Phatu Sineri.

The officials of the neighbouring state were forced to retreat from Kotia due to protest from the Odisha team, sources said.

“A few officials of Andhra Pradesh tried to enter Kotia to hold some programmes. We confronted them and forced them to leave the locality immediately. Kotia is an integral part of Odisha and it will remain so in future,” Meleka said.

Both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are engaged in a five-decade-long tussle over the ownership of Kotia group of villages. Both the states have been claiming their territorial control over Kotia since early 1960s.

Earlier, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and others had confronted a team of officials from Andhra at Kotia during the celebration Utkal Diwas on April 1 this year.

Similarly, a group from Odisha comprising Jeypore MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati and local leaders of BJD and BJP had objected Andhra officials’ visit to Kotia panchayat a few months ago.

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