SAMBALPUR: THOUGH the State Government has formed 500 new gram panchayats (GPs) recently keeping an eye on 2017 polls, the people of western Odisha are pessimistic about the objective of better governance at grassroots level.
While small time leaders are gearing up for upcoming panchayat polls and names of possible candidates are being propped up, the real issues are getting suppressed in the backward districts which have lagged behind in development.
Despite special status for KBK region with Kalahandi holding the centre-stage, the district continues be haunted by starvation deaths, migration, poverty, malnutrition, absence of irrigation facilities and of late Maoist activities.
The new panchayats will be created by bifurcating the GPs which have population of over 10,000 people aimed at improving the governance at grassroots level. As many as 37 new GPs will be formed in Kalahandi while its number is 27 in Nuapada, 12 in Sonepur, six in Boudh, 10 in Deogarh, nine in Bargarh and two in Sambalpur. A record 64 new GPs will be formed in Nuapada district. At present, Kalahandi has 272 GPs while Nuapada has 108.
The new GPs will also go to the polls in February 2017 while the State has a total of 6,234 panchayats at present. The State Cabinet had recently approved the proposal for creation of new 500 GPs by amending the Odisha Gram Panchayat Act.
In Kalahandi district, there will be no new GPs in three blocks, Kesinga, Narla and Karlamunda, while Bhawanipatna Sadar will have three new GPs, Madanpur Rampur will get four and Lanjigarh will accommodate five new GPs.
Similarly, Thuamal Rampur block will have seven new GPs, Kalampur will get two, Jaipatna, Golamunda and Dharamgarh blocks will have four each, Junagarh and Koksara will have two each taking the total GPs from 272 to 309 in the district.