Poll bonanza for 28 villages claimed by both AP, Odisha
Koraput: Kumuti Gamel of Neridiwalasa village has been expecting the rush of officials with health camps, financial packages and other schemes. It is, after all, election time, and such heightened activity by the administration is common across India.
But there is a difference: Neridiwalasa and 27 other villages under Kotia panchayat see the arrival of officials from both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, because both states have laid claim to the area.
Kotia—which has officially been in Odisha since the state was formed in 1936 and was claimed by what was undivided Andhra Pradesh when that state was for med in 1953—is part of the Pottangi assembly seat and the Koraput Lok Sabha seat in Odisha, but also in the Salur assembly and Araku Lok Sabha constituencies in Andhra. The status of Kotia is sub judice as both states went to court and the dispute has been before the Supreme Court since 1968.
Twenty-one of Kotia’s 28 villages have been at the centre of the tussle. The dispute escalated in January 2018 after the Andhra government launched its Janmabhoomi programme there, and the collector of Vizianagaram district attended the event without, as Odisha claimed, intimating his counterpart in Koraput. This prompted the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government here to announce a slew of schemes for Kotia.
Now, with state assembly elections in both states and general elections just a few months away, both governments have once again gone into overdrive.
Andhra Pradesh officials prepare Aadhaar cards for residents of Neridiwalasa village