Home Dehradun No development, no vote, say villagers

No development, no vote, say villagers


DEHRADUN, 11 April (IANS): Peeved over the government’s apathy towards development in their areas, a large number of villagers in Uttarakhand on Thursday boycotted the election, police and officials said. Residents of Digothi and Lodal villages in Tehri district did not vote saying they did not get a road and other facilities. District Magistrate Sonika said she had also heard about the two villages and was investigating the matter. People in Bachhim and Umla in Bageshwar district also refused to cast their votes till their villages got a road and school. Bageshwar District Magistrate Ranjana Rajguru said a few people did vote in these two villages. “We are trying to persuade the others,” she said. Three villages in Pithoragarh district and Ruiya and Rothal villages in Champawat district also decided to forego their franchise over similar issues. Elsewhere in the state, voting was literally an uphill task for thousands of people in the tough mountainous reaches of the hill state. Eleven polling booths in the state were at least 15-20 km away from the settlements. Villagers trekked over 20 km to reach Dumak polling booth in Chamoli district to cast their votes. In the Tehri Lok Sabha constituency, the Ghudsal polling booth was a 19-km walk for the voters. The trek to Kalgot in Chamoli district, Pilang in Uttarakashi district and Kanaar in Pithoragarh district was a distance of 18 km. “The distances to many polling booths are very long,” said Saujanya, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state. In Pauri district, distances to 54 polling booths were between 5 to 10 km away, which included tough mountainous treks.