Kanar villagers again boycott polls but none to listen to their grievances
Pithoragarh, Feb 20
Kanar, the polling station in Dharchula assembly constituency in Pithoragarh district remained the only booth in the district where villagers did not caste a single vote during the polling for the state assembly elections held on February 14 to express their resentment over lack of road connectivity to their village which they have been demanding for long.
“Despite our teams tried to persuade the voters, not a single vote, out of total 588 voters was caste by the villagers making the village the only one which boycotted the state assembly elections completelty,” said RK Shukla, Returning officer and Dharchula SDM. The polling booth has a total of 588 voters including 277 female voters.
“We have also called poll boycott in 2019, Lok Sabha polls but 2 voters were persuaded by some parties to vote from the village,”said Jeet Singh Parihar, a villager.
Kanar, village, having a polling booth of the same name is at a distance of 18 km distance from main motorcycle road at Baram. “Leave the road even the track route, that was badly damaged during 2013 natural disaster as not even repaired by administration forcing the villagers to cross several obstacles to reach the village,” said Jeet Singh.
Asked why the road could not be connected to such distant village, Dharchula MLA Harish Dhami said that it was due to laws of Askot wildlife sanctuary that was notified in 1986. ” We tried several times to cut the road to village even by our own means but administration stopped us,” said Dhami.
The pregnant women and old citizens are the worst sufferers of lack of 18 km road to the village.” While the cost of essential goods increases to double from Baram market due to fare taken by mule owner on such tough terrains to reach the village, the pregnant women suffer more as they have to be taken 18 km on “Palki” or a stretcher by village youths to Baram and then to 50 km at Dharchula hospital or 100 km to Pithoragarh hospital,” said Birma Devi, an Anganbari worker in the village.
The villagers said that for them there is no meaning of casting votes as their basic problems have not been taken care by either their public representatives nor by administrative officers.” Over 50 percent of the villagers have migrated to settle at other places, only due to lack of road and medical facilities and those present wants to leave it ,”said Narendra Singh Parihar, a native of village and research fellow at GB Pant National Institute of Environment and Development at Almora.