Bhubaneswar /Visakhapatnam: The Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have resolved on Tuesday to cooperate with each other in tackling the twin problems of left-wing extremism and ganja cultivation in the border regions and beyond. The two also discussed the six-decades-old inter-state Vamsadhara river water dispute, among other matters, at the 40-minutes-long meeting held in the Odisha capital.
This was for the first time that the CMs of the two states sat together – at the state secretariat here — to discuss such key issues.
The CMs decided that chief secretaries of both the states will set up an institutional mechanism to deliberate on outstanding issues between the two states and find solutions in the best interests of the people of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
Notably, in 1962, the then AP government decided to construct a barrage at Neradi to draw water from the river for its irrigation needs, but the Odisha government did not agree with the proposal.
At the meeting on Tuesday, the AP CM sought to get from Odisha some 106 acres of land required for the project. In 2017, the Vamsadhara water disputes tribunal permitted the AP government to get the land from Odisha and allowed both the states to equally share some 115tmc of the river water.
There had been some meetings between the CMs of Odisha and the AP undivided state in Delhi in the past, they did not yield any result.
At the Bhubaneswar meet, Jagan and Naveen Patnaik discussed a number of issues of mutual interest and the two leaders promised to work closely on resolving the pending issues with a fair mind-set devoid of political considerations.
The key issues the two CMs discussed included the Kotia group of villages, the Neradi barrage over Vamsadhara in Srikakulam district, the Janjhavati reservoir at Vizianagaram district, the Polavaram over Godavari, the release of water for Bhahuda river, and a joint agreement for the Balimela and Upper Sileru energy projects in Visakhapatnam and its bordering districts in Odisha.
An official release stated that both the states would work towards setting up one each chair for Odia and Telugu languages in BR Ambedkar University at Srikakulam and Berhampur University, respectively. Besides, there was agreement on appointment of language teachers in schools in border districts of the two states, supply of books and conduct of Telugu/Odia language courses/examination there to promote brotherhood.
Jagan left for Bhubaneswar by a special aircraft from the Visakhapatnam airport after attending the marriage of Pathapatnam MLA Reddi Shanti in Srikakulam district in the morning.
The following was the official statement released in Bhubaneswar after the meeting between the two chief ministers:
“The Chief Ministers of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh had a very cordial and fruitful meeting today. Both the states not only share borders but also a long and glorious history and heritage. At times of need, both states have extended full cooperation and assistance, a fact borne out during the natural disasters in the past.”
“It was resolved that both the states will continue the legacy of mutual cooperation and in the true spirit of federalism discuss issues between the two states. The Chief Ministers have decided that chief secretaries of both the states will set up an institutional mechanism to deliberate on outstanding issues and find a solution that is in the best interest of the people of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.”
“A number of issues of mutual interest were discussed by the two Chief Ministers, particularly in the field of water resources, common boundary, energy and left-wing extremism. It was decided to work closely on resolving the issues concerning Kotia group of villages, Neradi Barrage, Jhanjavathi Reservoir, Polavaram, release of water for Bahuda river and mutual no-objection certificates (NOCs) for the Balimela and Upper Sileru in Energy sector.”...