Pradhan writes to Jagan over Andhra-Odisha border dispute
Bhubaneswar, Sep 22 : Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has written a letter to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy for finding an amicable resolution to the border village disputes between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
Pradhan, who hails from Odisha, urged Reddy to hold bilateral discussions with his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik to lay out the broad parameters of the future roadmap to address the border dispute issues between the two states.
Terming the faceoff between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha as unfortunate, he said the skirmishes, which started in 20-odd villages under the Kotia gram panchayat in Koraput district, have now spread to other bordering villages in Gajapati district.
"Such disputes pose a threat both to the security as well as developmental aspirations of the villagers living in the border villages in the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh," Pradhan said in his letter.
He said that settling boundary issues is time-consuming and requires intense parleys coupled with the involvement of a mature political leadership at the highest level, based on mutual trust and cooperation between the states.
"There is a need for building an enabling environment to facilitate talks between the states in view of the flared-up situation on the ground," he suggested.
The Union minister advised the CM to withdraw armed police forces from the disputed villages and quash the cases registered against local representatives and government officials of both the states.
"Except for essential public utility facilities of rural infrastructure, health, education and basic civic amenities, new structural construction and earth moving activities be put on hold, as these actions have led to the ongoing altercations," Pradhan stated.
He also suggested bilateral discussions between the Chief Ministers of the two states to lay the broad parameters of future roadmap to address the issues, besides holding joint working group level talks at the level of chief secretaries/development commissioners of both the states.
Stating that "as an Odia, it pains me to see the distress and suffering of the people of Koraput and Gajapati", Pradhan assured the support of the Centre and his availability to facilitate an amicable environment for bilateral talks and peaceful resolution to the dispute.