Bhubaneswar, Aug 11: The Odisha government has not reorganized blocks in the state during the last four decades despite the double rise in population.
In 1963, the number of blocks was 304 in the state when the population was 1.75 crore and it increased to 307 in 1977 and to 314 in 1984.
As per details from Census 2011, Odisha has a population of 4.2 crores, an increase from the figure of 3.68 crores in the 2001 census.
Though the 2021 census has not been conducted, the population has crossed 4.63 crores as per the government estimation which is 2.5 times higher than the 1961 population.
However, the number of blocks has been 314 since 1984 that has stood as an obstacle before the block administrations of the state to reach at the grassroots level for the overall development of villages.
Out of 314 blocks, over 60 blocks need badly need reorganization for the smooth functioning of developmental schemes and projects at the grassroots level.
Many panchayats and villages are situated varying from 40-50 km distance from the block headquarters.
Block officials and employees fail to meet targets with growth in the number of beneficiaries. Due to less number of employees at block offices, the block administration failed to address the problems of people living in cut-off and far-reach areas across the state.
Tribal-dominated Mohana block in the Gajapati district has 39 panchayats. Most of the panchayat offices are situated over 40 km away from the block headquarters. People face difficulties to reach the block office for any developmental work or problem.
There are 13 panchayats under the Chandragiri zone of the block and locals are demanding for the last 30 years to make Chandragiri a block and have held protests to press their demand before the administration.
Similarly, Lakhanpur is another large block of the state in the Jharsuguda district that consists of 33 panchayats. The radiuses of Bhograi and Remuna blocks in Balasore district, Barchana block in Jajpur district, and Borigumma and Dasamantapur blocks in Koraput district are larger too.
In 2017, the state government constituted over 500 new panchayats. However, it did not reorganize around 60 larger blocks of the state.
Panchayati Raj Minister Pradip Amat said in the last session of the state Assembly that the government has no plan for the reorganization of blocks as no census has been conducted since 2011.