Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday wrote to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to convene an all party-meeting over border disputes with neighbouring states and also urged him to seek the support of the Central government in mediating a resolution.
In the letter, Pradhan, who hails from Odisha’s Talcher, highlighted that tensions have flared up once again along the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border at Pottangi Block in Koraput district.
“It is understood that unilateral demarcation claiming certain portions of the Sunabeda Mouza under Sambai Panchayat and digging of a pond in the village of Talaganjei padar by officials of the Andhra Pradesh administration was found unacceptable to Odisha. The matter has now escalated to blockage of Pottangi-Arku road by villagers on the Andhra Pradesh side,” the Union Minister said while requesting Patnaik to convene an all-party meeting with due participation and inputs from Odisha’s intelligentsia and civil society.
Pradhan also suggested him to form a House Committee in the Odisha Legislative Assembly comprising members of these issues and presenting their learned findings along with their recommendation.
“Keeping in mind the sensitivity of the issue, I would also urge you to seek the support of the Central government in mediating a resolution between Odisha and her neighbouring States for boundary disputes,” he stated.
Pradhan highlighted that fourteen out of Odisha’s thirty districts share borders with Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. “Odisha has a long history of border and water disputes with all these neighbouring States owing to historical, cartographic and geographical reasons,” he said.
“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, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, through bilateral discussions between States,” he stated.
The Union Minister said that Odisha should take the lead in initiating discussions to resolve border disputes. “However, it must be ensured that socio-economic interest of the people of Odisha is not compromised in any way and if necessary, the State should also consider legal remedies for resolution of these disputes,” he concluded.