Dharmendra Pradhan Seeks Andhra CM’s Intervention To Amicably Resolve Kotia Border Dispute

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Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has sought the personal intervention of Andhra Pradesh CM Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy requesting to hold bilateral discussion with his Odisha counterpart Shri Naveen Patnaik to lay the broad parameters of the future roadmap to address the border dispute issue between the two states.

The Union Minister for Education; Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan today wrote a letter to the Andhra CM for an amicable resolution of issues pertaining to the unfortunate faceoff between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha in the bordering villages to districts of Koraput and Gajapati.

“These skirmishes which started in the 20 odd villages to Kotia Gram Panchayat in Pottangi Block of Koraput District have unfortunately now spread to other border villages in Gajapati district. Needless to emphasize, these run-ins fuel utter-state border disputes and is a matter of serious concern. Such disputes pose a threat both to the security as well as developmental aspirations of villagers located in border villages in the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.,” he wrote.

Citing that Odisha and Andhra Pradesh share much common history, developmental challenges, and welfare objectives, Pradhan said that “Both states have worked for providing connectivity and infrastructure in remote areas, ensured the implementation of key development goals and made continuous efforts to improve the ease of living for the common man in the remotest hilly areas of Eastern Ghats. These developmental initiatives have gone a long way in mitigating, the threats arising from Left-Wing Extremism.”

The Union Minister apprised the Andhra Pradesh CM that 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 Left-Wing Extremism and the combined efforts have ensured return of peace in these villages.

“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 ongoing developmental initiatives and nullify the peace dividends which have accrued over the years in. these areas. Situations like these would only fuel mistrust and prop up divisive forces to work against the socio-political and economic interests of both the States, Pradhan wrote in the letter.

Pradhan hoped 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. He said that there is a need for building an enabling environment to facilitate talks between the states in view of the flared-up situation on ground.

The Union Minister also requested Andhra Pradesh CM Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy  to consider the following measures to create a conducive environment for talks between the States:

  1. Retreat of 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;
  2. Except for essential public utility facilities of rural infrastructure, health, education, and basic civic amenities, new structural construction and earth moving activities be put on hold, as these actions have led to the ongoing altercations;
  3. Bilateral discussions between the Chief Ministers to lay the broad parameters of future roadmap to address the issues; and
  4. Joint Working Group level talks at the level of Chief Secretaries/ Development Commissioners of both the States.

“As an Odia it pains me to see the distress and suffering of the people of Koraput and Gajapati. On behalf of the Union Government and in my personal capacity, I assure you of my Support and availability in facilitating an amicable environment for bilateral talks and peaceful resolution of the dispute,” Pradhan mentioned in the letter.

“In the interests of the residents of both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, I seek your urgent personal intervention for El conducive and mutually agreeable resolution of the matter,” the Union Minister concluded.

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