Poll bo­nanza for 28 vil­lages claimed by both AP, Odisha

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Satya­narayan Pat­tnaik

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

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