[PDF Notes] Essay on the British Boundary Commission to Orissa

Before finalising the proposed reforms, the colonial Government convenced a Round Table Conference in London in November 1930 to hear the Indian leaders. Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati, the Raja of Parelakhemundi represented the Oriya-speaking people and pleaded for the necessity of a separate Orissa province to protect their glorious culture. He also submitted a memorandum.

The Government concerned to the just demand and appointed Sir Samuel O’ Donnell as Chairman of the Boundary Commission to demarcate the boundaries of Orissa. H.M.Mehta, Member, council of states of Bombay and T.R. Phookun, Member, Central Legislative Assembly from Assam were the two members of the Commission. The Raja of Paralakhemundi, Sachidananda Sinha and Narsimha Raju were the non-voting members of the commission. B.C. Mukherjee, I.C.S. served as the Secretary of the Commission.

After recording evidence of 401 witnesses in Jamshedpur, Chaibasa, Sambalpur, Raipur, Midnapur,Gopalpur,Waltair,Kakinada and Cuttack the Commission recommended that the proposed Orissa Province should include Orissa Division, Anugul,Padmapur and Khariar, the great part of the Ganjam district and Vizagpatnam Agency tracts.

It would have an area of 33,000 square miles and 8,277,000 population statitics of Paralakhemundi was not favouring its inclusion in Orissa, though the Raja was determined for it. Though Sir O’Donnell declined to recommend its inclusion with Orissa H.M. Mehta and T.R. Phookun gave a dissenting note supporting the transfer of Paralakhemundi to Orissa.

The content of the One’Donnell Committee Report was made public on 18 March 1933. The shape of the proposed province was much below the expectation of the Oriya-speaking people. They were unhappy over the non-inclusion of Midnapur, Singhbhum, Phulijhar, Paralakhemundi and Jeypore. A powerful delegation, consisting of the Raja of Paralakhemundi, Raja of Khalikote, Lingaraj Panigrahi, Bhubanananda Das and Shyamsunder Gantyat went to London to press upon the Government to reconsider the boundary issue.

They meet Sir Samuel Hoare, the Secretary of State for India and pleaded their case methodically. The Joint Select Committee under the Chaimanship of Sir Linlithgow also carefully examined the case.

It was finally declared that Oriya majority area of Ganjam district including Berhampur town, Jeypore estate, 30% of Paralakhemundi estate including Paralakhemundi and Jalantara Maliah would form a part of the Orissa Province besides Orissa Division, Angul, Padampur and Khariar. Lastly, the Committee categorically stated that the question of financial deficit would be made good by the Government of India.

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