Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart YS Jagan Mohan Reddy are likely to discuss the disputed border between the two states as well as inter-state river projects at a meeting on Tuesday. At the meeting scheduled to be held from 5 pm at the Lok Seva Bhavan in Bhubaneswar, the chief ministers are likely to take up the dispute over the Kotia cluster of villages in Koraput district, construction of Neradi barrage over the Vamsadhara river, and the Polavaram multi-purpose project on the Godavari river, officials said.
The dispute over the ownership of 16 out of 28 villages of Kotia between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh is likely to figure at the meeting. Though the Kotia issue is sub-judice, officials are hopeful that the two chief ministers will try to settle the matter amicably. Both the states had approached the Supreme Court over the issue and the apex court in 2006 had asked them to maintain the status quo.
However, the Andhra Pradesh government conducted panchayat polls in three villages in Kotia gram panchayat in Koraput district by changing their names in February this year, officials said.
In August, the Supreme Court asked the two states to resolve the Kotia issue through bilateral discussions.
Border disputes in other districts over which both the states claim ownership are also expected to be taken up for discussion.
Recently, tension mounted when the Odisha Police put up barricades along the bordering villages to prevent intrusions by Andhra Pradesh officials.
The proposed meeting between the two chief ministers is also expected to resolve the disputes over inter-state river projects, the officials said.
The Vamsadhara Water Disputes Tribunal had recently permitted Andhra Pradesh to go ahead with the construction of the Neradi barrage on the Vamsadhara. The Andhra Pradesh government is reportedly prepared to pay compensation for the submerged lands and rehabilitation of the displaced people in Odisha's Rayagada and Gajapati district. However, Odisha is yet to respond to the proposal.
The Neradi project is expected to submerge over 106 acres of land in Rayagada and Gajapati districts of Odisha. The Vamsadhara river originates in the border of Thamual Rampur in Kalahandi district and Kalyansinghpur in Rayagada district of Odisha and joins the Bay of Bengal near Kalingapatanam of Andhra Pradesh after covering a distance of 254 km in both states.
The Andhra Pradesh chief minister is likely to seek Patnaik's immediate intervention to carry forward the work of Neradi barrage. The Andhra Pradesh government is of the opinion that apart from irrigating 2.5 lakh acres of land in Srikakulam district, the Neradi project will also provide water to about 30,000 acres of land in Odisha. The submergence to be caused by the Polavaram project on the Godavari is also likely to come up for discussion.
However, the matter concerning the height of the proposed dam and alleged change done to the construction of the reservoir without the consent of the Odisha government is sub judice.