Andhra Pradesh

Andhra-Odisha border dispute gaining ground

Tribals people at Kolaput village where people from Odisha alleged chopped down trees.  

The ongoing border dispute at Dumbriguda mandal in Visakha Agency is inching towards a major controversy, as there are indications that the dispute is fuelled by an alleged mining mafia.

About 20 days ago, some locals from villages in Koraput district of Odisha bordering Andhra Pradesh, accompanied by some officials from that State, walked into Kolaput panchayat in Dumbriguda mandal on the Andhra Pradesh side, and allegedly forcibly encroached about 600 metres on the A.P. side. They also reportedly removed the signboards and stones demarcating the border and shifted them about 600 metres inside the A.P. side.

The incident took place at Kolaput panchayat in Dumbriguda mandal and four villages of Decapadu, Bodalamamidi, Nitamamidi and Kolaput have been affected.

A day after this was reported in the media, a team headed by the tahsildar and forest officials visited the spot and confirmed that the stones and signboards were shifted about 600 metres on the A.P. side.

The incident happened in Malisingharam Gasaba Reserve forest, and some hillocks, roads, forest and patta lands and farm lands, have come under the alleged forced encroachment.

The borders between Andhra and Odisha were discussed and demarcated way back in 1953, when Andhra Pradesh state was formed.

Mining

It is learnt that the motive behind the forced encroachment is gaining control over some hillocks that apparently contain granite.

According to a senior police officer, the entire scheme was planned allegedly by a local politician on the Odisha side, who had interest in mining.

Some hills on the other side in Koraput were being quarried for granite, and the attempt was allegedly made to gain control over a few hillocks in Dumbriguda mandal, to extend the quarry area.

“In an attempt to do so, they have not only encroached our patta and farm lands, but destroyed acres of coffee and silver oak plantations,” said Kilo Surendra of Girijan Sangham.

These villages are not far from Livitiputtu village in Dumbriguda mandal, where Araku MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao and former MLA Siveri Soma were killed by the Maoists in September 2018.

Though Superintendent of Police B. Krishna Rao confirmed that there had been no law and order issue so far in the border area, there was an uneasy calm in area with the reports of movement of some Maoist cadres.

Joint survey

ITDA, Paderu, Project Officer S. Venkateswar said that initial survey by the revenue and forest had confirmed the shifting of boards about 600 metres inside A.P., but efforts were on to mitigate the dispute at the earliest.

“We have already spoken to the officials concerned on the Odisha side and the District Collectors, RDOs and Deputy Collectors of both sides are in touch,” he said.

“Both the sides have decided to conduct a joint survey and it will be done shortly to resolve the issue permanently and as of now we are maintaining status quo,” said Mr. Venkateswar.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 5:52:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/andhra-odisha-border-dispute-gaining-ground/article33164861.ece

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