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Odisha launches bus service to disputed Kotiya area

Odisha launches bus service to disputed Kotiya area
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Bus services have been introduced in Kotiya panchayat of Odisha’s Koraput district where the state government is embroiled in a dispute with Andhra...

Koraput (Odisha) : Bus services have been introduced in Kotiya panchayat of Odisha’s Koraput district where the state government is embroiled in a dispute with Andhra Pradesh over ownership of several villages. Commencement of the passenger bus service on Friday was part of the administration’s exercise to strengthen infrastructure in the panchayat situated in Pottangi block on the Deomali hill range, said an official.

“Apart from providing better transportation to the local people, the service will boost tribal economy,” said Krutibas Rout, sub-collector of Koraput. Villagers say movement of people from villages in the Kotiya panchayat will augur well for the socio-economic development of the tribals.

“We are delighted as bus service has been introduced in the area. Earlier, villagers used to depend on small vehicles to cover 27 km to reach Kunduli and then catch a bus either to go to Pottangi or Koraput. Now we can also transport our produce and sell it in urban areas,” said Ajay Pangi, a Kotiya resident. Officials said the bus service will help over 4,000 villagers of the panchayat.

The bus will cover around 250 km every day. The administration has also erected a check-post at Taupadar village, which is on the road leading to Kotiya to check entry of Andhra Pradesh people into Kotiya, said Sadashiv Adhikari, additional block development officer, Pottangi. Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are entangled in a battle since 1968 over the ownership of 21 out of the 28 villages under Kotiya panchayat.

Last week, the visit of officials from Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh and launching of their flagship programme Janmabhoomi at Tolo Ganjeipadar village in the panchayat had taken Odisha government by surprise, officials said.

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