For residents of 10 villages of South Kamrup, Dron river proves impassable barrier
Boko, March 13: For the last 65 years, villagers of Mawdangop, Talimara, Dolathowa, Mojaibari and Bio Rongdong along the Assam-Meghalaya border in South Kamrup, had never participated in the election process because to cast their votes, they needed to walk a 20-km track through the forested hills.
And the upcoming elections will be no different.
For lack of a bridge over Dron river at Okolpara, people of at least ten villages will be deprived from exercising their franchise yet again.
The nearest polling centre is located at Ukium across the Dron river.
"The co-ordition committee of 26 villages of Ukium area has been requesting the Chayygaon MLA and the Assistant Executive Engineer of PWD, Boko to arrange at least some RS joists. If we get the joists, we can contribute the other required materials and construct a wooden bridge on our own. But our pleas have fallen upon deaf ears," said a village elder.
RS joists measuring around 80 metres would be required for the purpose. But on recommendation of the Chayygaon MLA, RS joists measuring 40 metres were allotted for the purpose, making the sanction futile.
For want of a bridge over the river, the people of Mawdangop, Talimara, Dolathowa, Mojaibari, Bio Rongdong, Umtholi, Ashin, Warigrow and Umkhampara have been not only deprived of their voting rights but also of adequate market and medical facilities.
Peberington Marak of Umthali, president of the co-ordition committee of 26 villages of Ukium area said, "MLAs and MPs have never bothered about our plight. Most families in the area are from BPL category - mostly from the tribal and religious minority communities. Both the local MP and MLA should be ashamed of the condition of this area."
In the past, there have been reports of proxy voting in the Ukium polling centre. "Sometimes, one or two villagers take the hilly trek to the polling booth, only to find that someone else had cast their votes on their mes," said another villager.
Rajiv Prakash Baruah, who recently joined as South Kamrup DC, said he was not aware of the problem. But he assured that he would look into it.