Border dispute: Naveenflayed over Kotia ‘polls’

Govt. transfers Koraput Collector

The Opposition parties on Friday came down heavily on the Naveen Patnaik government, saying it failed to protect its own land with neighbouring Andhra Pradesh reportedly conducting panchayat elections in three of Odisha villages.

Both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have been at loggerhead over the jurisdiction pertaining to Kotia gram panchayat in Odisha’s Koraput district for several decades.

As per reports from Koraput district, Andhra Pradesh is scheduled to hold panchayat election in three villages — Talaganjeipadar, Patusineri and Phagunseneri in Kotia gram panchayat — by changing their names to Ganjeibadara, Pattuchennuru and Pagluchennuru on February 13. Nominations have been filed for the post of sarpanch and ward members from the three villages.

Perturbed over the report, the Odisha government has transferred Koraput Collector Madhusudan Mishra on Thursday evening, a day before Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated different welfare programmes in Kotia gram panchayat. The 2015-batch IAS officer Muhammed Abdaal Akhtar has been asked to assume charge of Koraput collector.

Mr. Patnaik on Friday inaugurated projects worth ₹18 crore in Kotia gram panchayat by videoconferencing. He also laid the foundation stone of a bridge in the bordering panchayat. According to the Chief Minister’s Office, projects to the tune of ₹150 crore were being taken up in the area.

‘We need a solution’

Leading the attack on government, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “It seems we have not attached seriousness to the Kotia gram panchayat. We are not giving emphasis on connecting with people of Kotia. We need to find a solution by taking all parties into confidence.”

Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said, “Another State conducting polls in jurisdiction of Odisha proves that we have a weak leadership.”

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