In the wake of escalation of border tensions between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has requested Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to convene an all party-meeting over the border disputes with neighbouring states. In a letter to the Chief Minister, Pradhan also urged him to seek the support of the Central government in mediating a resolution for boundary disputes. The letter was released to the media on Thursday.
Union Minister Pradhan, who hails from Odisha, wrote the letter in the wake of fresh tensions at Sunabeda village in Pottangi block of Koraput district, along the Odisha-Andhra border. "Odisha has a long history of border disputes with all these neighbouring states owing to historical, cartographic and geological reasons," said Union Minister Pradhan.
He further said, "While borders might seem absolute on paper, they will always remain porous to the underlying societal norms, cultures, languages shared by the people on both sides," while adding, "in view of the above, it would seem prudent to arrive at an effective and comprehensive resolution of Odisha''s ongoing and long standing border disputes with all its neighbouring states, i.e. Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh, through bilateral discussions with these states."
According to a report in NIE, the row broke out after residents of four Andhra villages and Visakhapatnam revenue officials allegedly removed a signboard set up by Odisha officials from the "original position" and pushed it 500 metres back into the Odisha side. Soon, with the issue escalating, officials from Odisha's Pottangi block intervened. Koraput sub collector, local MLA and Sunabeda DSP have lifted the border signboard from the new place and put it back in its original place.
Koraput Assistant Collector Archana Dash visited the area and took stock of the situation and said joint verification of the border will be done. As many as 14 of the 30 districts in Odisha share borders with Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
(With agency inputs)