AP, Odisha fight over ownership of 400 sq m, tension palpable

Visakhapatnam:  The tribals living in the areas bordering Andhra Pradesh and Odisha are under the grip of fear with both the States staking their claim over certain areas.

Known for living with perfect harmony, the tribals in the area are witnessing frequent visits of officials and political leaders after the States started accusing each other of intruding into their territory.

The last joint demarcation was made in 1956 when Andhra Pradesh was carved out of Madras Presidency. Later the State was divided in 2014 following granting of Statehood to Telangana as a sequel to an agitation spearheaded by Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).

While Andhra Pradesh claims trouble sparked off a month ago when Odisha staked claim over certain areas of Sunabeda hamlet of Sambai Mouza in Dumburiguda tehsil, Odisha denies the allegation. It countered by saying that Andhra Pradesh has intruded into 400 meters of their area in Dissari village of Dhulipet panchayat in Chitrakonda block of Koraput district.

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The area under dispute is said to be containing rich deposits of quartz, and granites.

The conflict aggravated a month ago following claims and counter claims even before the standoff between the two neighbours over jurisdiction of 21 villages known as Kotia Group Villages in the nearby area is yet to be resolved. The issue is pending before court since 1956.

“The people in the area are in abject poverty. We want the border dispute settled amicably without whipping up parochial feelings in the larger interests of the innocent tribals,” Andhra Pradesh Girijan Sangham State vice president Killo Surendra told siasat.com.

Joint demarcation survey was stopped on December 3after conducting it for a day.

Koraput District Collector Madhusudan Mishra said after completing their survey, Odisha was waiting for an independent survey by Andhra Pradesh on its request. He said joint demarcation of areas would resume after Andhra Pradesh intimated them about its readiness.

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Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are also facing border dispute in iron ore-rich Bellary reserve forest area.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) State committee member O. Konda Reddy and Anantapur district committee member O. Nalappa alleged that the Government of India was delaying the process to favour Gali Janardhan Reddy, owner of Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC).

Anantapur was part of undivided Bellary district of Karnataka before formation of Andhra Pradesh.

A case by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is pending for a long time against Gali Janardhan Reddy, a former Minister in an earlier BJP Government in Karnataka, and his family over illegal mining of iron ore.

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