- GS-1: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
- GS-2: Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
Andhra-Odisha border dispute
Context: Andhra Pradesh recently held panchayat elections in three villages in the Kotia cluster, which is at the centre of a dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
- A day after Andhra notified the panchayat elections here, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated projects worth Rs 18 crore.
- The Odisha government moved the Supreme Court challenging the conduct of elections by AP government.
- Tribal Dominated: These villages, with a population of nearly 5,000, are located on a remote hilltop on the inter-state border and are inhabited by Kondh tribals.
- Left-wing extremism: The region, once a Maoist hotbed which still reports sporadic incidents of violence.
- Rich Resources: These villages are also rich in mineral resources like gold, platinum, manganese, bauxite, graphite and limestone.
Brief History of the Dispute
- Prior to April 1, 1936, villages under Kotia panchayat were part of Jeypore Estate.
- In the Constitution of Orrisa Order, 1936, published in the Gazette of India, the Government of India demarcated Odisha from the erstwhile Madras Presidency (that included present day Andhra Pradesh)
- In 1942, the Madras government contested the boundary and ordered re-demarcation of the two states.
- In a joint survey of Odisha, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, seven villages of Kotia gram panchayat were recorded as revenue villages and revenue was collected by the Odisha government, but the exercise left out the 21 villages now under dispute.
- When the state of Andhra Pradesh was created in 1955, the villages were not surveyed by the Andhra Pradesh government
What is the political status of people residing in these disputed villages?
- This is the first time Andhra has held panchayat polls in any of these villages.
- But the villages participate in Assembly and Lok Sabha elections for both states. They are registered as voters for Salur Assembly and Araku Lok Sabha seats of Andhra, and Pottangi Assembly and Koraput Lok Sabha seats of Odisha.
- The villagers enjoy benefits from both states under various schemes.
- Odisha constructed a gram panchayat office, a village agricultural centre, a boarding school, hostel, implemented MGNREGA, and distributed BPL cards to over 800 families and job cards to 1800 families.
- The Andhra Pradesh government has built roads, supplied electricity and provided rations to BPL families
- In the early 1980s, Odisha filed a case in the Supreme Court demanding right and possession of jurisdiction over the 21 villages.
- In 2006 however, the court ruled that since disputes belonging to the state boundaries are not within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the matter can only be resolved by Parliament and passed a permanent injunction on the disputed area.
Pic Source: Times of India
Connecting the dots:
- Maharashtra- Karnataka Border dispute (Belagavi Issue): Click here