Bhubaneswar: At a time when Odisha is stuck in border disputes with neighbouring States, over 25,000 people living in far-flung Sunabeda plateau in Nuapada district on Sunday urged the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel to take steps for merger of their villages with the neighbouring State.
Alleging that the Odisha government is meting out a raw deal to them, residents of two
panchayats- Soseng and Sunabeda- located inside the Sunabeda Sanctuary wrote a petition to Chattisgarh chief minister seeking inclusion of the villages with Chhattisgarh.
We are being neglected by the Odisha government. Our villages are deprived of basic requirements of life. Most villages and hamlets are yet to get power and road connectivity.
As a result, people are forced to trek 23 kilometers of hilly terrains to catch a bus to meet with the emergencies. The State of affairs in Chhattisgarh villages bordering Sunabeda is much better and living standard is also improved a lot, they noted in the petition.
Prior to the formation of Odisha as a separate State in 1936, our region was part of the undivided Madhya Pradesh. Our socio-cultural and economic lifestyle has a lot of similarities with people of Chhattisgarh. Our larger interest including the overall development of the region could be better safeguarded if we are merged with Chhattisgarh, they asserted.
The scenario in Kotia cluster of villages hit by lack of development has distinctive resemblance with – Soseng and Sunabeda gram panchayats in Nuapada district. As the Odisha government reportedly did not take note of development of the area, the Andhra Pradesh government stepped in to win the people’s confidence, luring the people with the generous offer of freebies.
The AP government recently held panchayat polls in these villages of Odisha. The government authorities’ perennial neglect to Sunabeda villages has given rise to the threat of Odisha losing further geographical territory as the natives have risen in revolt in spontaneity against the State government.