Trekking for miles to cast their vote

Voters in forested areas of Chittoor have to face too many obstacles while going to polling booths

Voters living in forested areas of Chittoor have to face several obstacles in order to exercise their franchise.

They first have to walk for several kilometres through forest terrain spread over fifty villages of Bangarupalem mandal of Chittoor district. A population of about 50,000 faces the hurdles of negotiating on foot rough forested roads full of gravel and potholes to cast their votes.

These villages are nestled in thick forests under the Koundinya wildlife sanctuary and bordering with Tamil Nadu. The terrain is interspersed with streams and hillocks, coupled with frequenting of wild elephants crisscrossing the inter-State region.

Variamma (58) of Bandladoddi hamlet, 6 km away from the Chittoor-Bengaluru NH, said that voters from her native place had to walk a distance of four km to cast their votes at a polling station in Kodalamadugu village.

“We rarely move out of our hamlet other than to buy provisions from Bangarupalem twice a month. We work in the fields the rest of the days. When elections come, we feel it is a special occasion, and we donโ€™t mind walking a few kilometers to cast our vote,” she said.

Suchitra (42) of Indra Nagar hamlet in the

mandal said in order to cast their vote, the villagers have to walk for four km to the polling station at Mogilivaripalle.

Voters of Gowrishankarapuram ST Colony, nestled atop a hillock, should climb down the steep hill and walk for a couple of km to cast their votes at Moghili, located on the Bengaluru NH.

Yetigadda ST Colony finds itself in a tight spot, as it is surrounded by forests and waterbodies. With much difficulty, residents reach the road point and walk 4 km to cast their votes at Pengaragunta. “We donโ€™t mind walking, but feel uneasy due to the movement of wild elephants in the area,” said Jayamma (65).

In Piler rural police circle, a dozen villages of Chinnagottigallu and Yerravaripalem mandals, which witnessed Maoist activity till two decades ago, have no polling booths for the residents.

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