Andhra, Odisha CMs meet, agree to resolve disputes

Amid raging territorial issues between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, Chief Ministers of both the states held a meeting here in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. Senior officials from both the states, including their Chief Secretaries, were also present.

Naveen Patnaik and Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy discussed water resources, common boundary, energy, and Left-wing extremism. The issues on agenda included Kotia gram panchayat, Neradi barrage, and the release of water for the Bahuda river.

The CMs have now directed their respective Chief Secretaries to set up a system to work on outstanding issues and find a solution. In a joint statement, they said, “The states will work towards setting up a chair for Odia and Telugu languages in B R Ambedkar University, Srikakulam and Berhampur University, respectively. Appointment of language teachers in schools in border districts, supply of books and language examination will also be taken up to promote brotherhood.”

Among the contentious issues is the Andhra government’s decision to construct Neradi barrage over the Vamsadhara river. Of the total length of the river, 154 km lies in Odisha while 82 km flows from Andhra Pradesh. While Andhra Pradesh decided to construct the barrage for irrigation in 1962, Odisha opposed it, claiming that it would submerge a large portion of farmlands.

To resolve the issue, Vamsadhara Water Disputes Tribunal was set up in 2010 which, in 2017, granted permission to the Andhra government to construct the barrage and also directed Odisha to acquire 106 acres of land in its region and hand it over to Andhra. However, the acquisition is yet to be completed.

Another major issue pertains to the Kotia gram panchayat. A senior official from the CMO said the chief ministers have decided to resolve it amicably after deliberations by the Chief Secretaries and will refrain from going to court.

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