Controversy
Responding to allegations by the Odisha government, officials in Andhra said that there was no wrongdoing.
Vizianagaram Collector Vivek Yadav

The Odisha government on Wednesday sought a report from Koraput district administration after Andhra Pradesh government officials distributed freebies and money to the tribals in the area.

Describing the issue as "serious," Revenue Minister Maheswar Mohanty asked the Koraput district collector to inquire into the matter and submit a report.

"I have sought a detailed report. A meeting of officials will be held after receiving the report," he said.

The officials of the neigbouring state on Tuesday allegedly distributed blankets and pension to some people in the Kotia gram panchayat under Pottangi block on the Andhra-Odisha border.

This was reportedly done in a bid to motivate them to be included under the Janmabhumi scheme launched by the Andhra government.

Vizianagaram Collector and other officials attended programme to observe 'Maa Uru' or Janambhumi at Kotia, being observed in Andhra Pradesh from January 2 to 11 every year.

As a cluster of around 21 villages of Kotia gram panchayat are located on Andhra-Odisha border, the neighbouring state has been trying to take those villages into their state.

"After we came to know that some officials of Andhra Pradesh visited the villages in Kotia gram panchayat, a team led by sub-collector was sent to the spot for inquiry," said Koraput Collector Anupam Saha.

Responding to the allegations by the Odisha government, the Vizianagaram district administration said that there was nothing wrong in handing out freebies to residents of the disputed area.

Speaking to TNIE, Vizianagaram Collector Vivek Yadav said, “What’s wrong here? The border dispute related to Kotia tribal pockets is still pending with the Supreme Court and both the Governments are implementing welfare schemes for the benefit of the tribals. When we visited the villages, the residents urged us to lay roads which we will bring to the notice of our government.”

In the past, the Odisha government has laid roads in the area, and ahs claimed that all 21 village in Kotia gram panchayat belong to them. 

 

IANS inputs