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Border Dispute: Why AP & Odisha are fighting during panchayat polls

The inter-state border dispute between Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Odisha over Kotia panchayat has once again reached the Supreme Court. The Odisha government has sought the initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the state of Andhra P for violation of status quo agreed upon by the two States more than 50 years ago.
 
The plea comes in the light of the ongoing Panchayat polls in Andhra Pradesh with the State Election Commission proposing to hold the polls in three contested villages from February 13 and 17.
 
What is the Dispute?
 
Both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have been claiming their rights over the Kotia panchayat which comprises 28 villages. In the notification for the polls, Andhra Pradesh has included Talaganjeipadar, Phatuseneri and Phagunaseneri villages under its Salur block.
 
In the petition, the Odisha government has mentioned that the Supreme Court had, in 1968, ordered maintenance of status quo in the disputed area. In its final hearing in 2006, the top court had recorded the status quo undertaking given by both States while disposing of the suit.
 
Violation of Court Order
 
The present plea filed through Sibo Sankar Mishra states that the move to hold elections in the contested area will amount to contempt of court as it violates the status quo undertaking given to the Court.
 
The plea states that villages have been under the control of the local administration of Odisha and that the Odisha government has undertaken several infrastructural initiatives in those villages including building roads, bridges, schools, etc.
 
The matter was mentioned on Thursday by Senior Counsel Vikas Singh on behalf of Odisha, seeking urgent listing. The Court agreed to the same and said that the matter will be listed for hearing today. 

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