Differing growth story puts people in a dilemma
Due to irrational demarcation of a stretch of the border between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and the lack of subsequent efforts to address issues concerning places that are deemed to be ‘administered’ by both the States people of two villages are in a peculiar situation, prompting them to take sides based on expediency.
Srikakulam: Due to irrational demarcation of a stretch of the border between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and the lack of subsequent efforts to address issues concerning places that are deemed to be ‘administered’ by both the States people of two villages are in a peculiar situation, prompting them to take sides based on expediency.
Rattini village inMeliaputti mandal and Kousalyapuram village in Kotturu mandal are cases in point; for they both fall in bothstates. Residents of these two villages therefore face different kinds ofproblems when it comes to accessing welfare measures and other benefits. Rattini village is situated 5 km away from theMeliaputti mandal headquarters and extends over both states. Thevillage is spread over two panchayats viz. Rattini under AP and Kerandi under Odisha. Ward numbers 1, 4 and 5 of Rattini village panchayat areadjacent to Kerandi village of Odisha. Brahmana Veedhi and Oriya Veedhiare situated jointly between two panchayats.
There are two schools in the village. One is the government primary school of AP state, locatedunder the Rattini village limits. The other one belongs to Odisha state and is located under the Kerandi village limits. Teachers of both the schools are usually in an unseemly competition to secure the maximum number of admissions every year.
For this, they conductmeetingswith elders in the village every year. Parents are unable to make an informed decision as to which of the two schools would be good for their children’s future.
That apart, some of those drawing pensions are also a dissatisfied lot. Persons livingon the Odisha side under the Kerandi village panchayat limits are particularly worried asthey are getting only Rs 300 as monthly pension under social securityschemes, while their equals in Rattini on the AP side are pocketing Rs 1,000 per month aspension. Developmental activities are perceptibly more on the AP side than in areas under Odisha.
People of Rattini having lands are inKerandi limits face troubleswhile obtaining clear revenue records with the result that they are unable to claim benefits under government schemes for crops. Land tax (sisthu) and house tax are less in Odisha, compared to that in AP. Besides, frequently water- related issues bedevil people of Rattini and Kerandi villages for crops as the lift irrigation scheme on which they depend is inOdisha.
“There are clear variations between the twostates as far as welfare schemes are concerned; and, AP is on top when itcomes to taxes, which are lower in Odisha than in AP. As for water, we are facing trouble in getting sufficient water for irrigation fromOdisha,” says Ravindra Nadh Jenna, sarpanch, with Alajangi Kurmayya, SureshChandra Jenna and Alajangi Vijay, ward members of Rattini village, echoing his sentiments.
“We have no clear land and asset records. Welfare schemes are not well in our State; due to irrational division, we are in Odisha,” say Suresh Padi, Subash Roulo, Sekhar Panigrahi and others of their ilk, who, given a chance, are willing to switch over to APif only for accessing the benefits.
Kousalyapuram in Kotturu mandal has adifferent background as the two state governments are in legal battle overa street in the village. This was an Inam (gifted) village and part ofthe erstwhile Parlakimidi Taluk of Madras Presidency. After formation of Odishastate in the year 1936, the village was part of Pathapatnam Taluk inthe erstwhile Madras state.
In 1953,when the Andhra State was formed, it became a part ofAP, along with Pathapatnam Taluk. Since then Odisha has been claiming a part of the village situated in Devara Veedhi, where about 35 familieslive. Legal battle is on as neither of the two governments is showing any interest in resolving the core issues once and for all.