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Villagers decided to boycott polls due to official apathy to their problems

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Villagers decided to boycott polls due to official apathy to their problems

B.D. Kasniyal

Pithoragarh, April 17

More than 300 voters of Dhanaulasera village of Bajad polling booth in Gangolihat area of Pithoragarh district have taken an oath to not take part in the voting for parliamentary elections scheduled to be held on April 19 as their long standing problems of road,  education, health drinking water, and toilets have not been addressed by public representatives till date.

” We all the villagers of Dhanaulasera, gathered at temple of ‘Golu Devta’, a local deity and took oath that, ‘We all the villagers, keeping witness village deity ‘Jai Golu Devta’, take an oath that we will boycott forthcoming Lok Sabha polls and Panchayat elections there after, untill our problems of  road, houses, toilets are not fulfilled and we are given benefits of all the government run welfare schemes.’

According to Saurabh Singh, out of 600 voters of Bajad polling booth, the boycott ceremony was attended by over 300 voters.” Even if some villagers decided to vote, the polling percentage would not expected to be more than five percent only,” said Sonu  Bhandari, another villager. In the last Lok Sabha elections of 2019, an average of 60 percent voting was witnessed in the Bajad polling booth. “The villagers have also prayed to ‘Golu Devta’ that he should give wisdom to government to solve our problems,” said Saurav Singh, convenor of the move.

According to villagers, their village Dhanaula sera that falls in Pithoragarh district and situated at border of Pithoragarh and Bageshwar districts, has been completely neglected by the administration and public representatives from developmental pointof view.”We have no road upto 2 km distance, the primary school has been closed in 2018 and despite four  students available in the village the school is not being opened, the poor villagers are without ‘Pucca’ houses and toilets and  over 25 poor families have no Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards to get free ration and several houses are without tapped water,” alleged Saurav Singh.

The villagers said that despite a local rivulet flowing near the village, no minor irrigation scheme has been constructed over  it till date.”This government neglect and lack of basic infrastructure has prompted migration from the village,” said Dungar Singh, a 70 year old villager.

The villagers said that they had sent a letter to Pithoragarh District Magistrate Reena Joshi, informing her about their decision to boycott the polls.”The District Magistrate took cognisance of our problems and sent a team of officers led by Tehsildar of Gangolihat, but despite tall promises by those officers during their meeting with the villagers, no initiative to solve our problems have taken till date,” said Saurab Singh.

After repeated agitations to link Dhanaulasera village with a motor road in the past and fed up of government promises, the villagers themselves took upon the task of constructing the 2.5 kilometer long road and voluntarily collected a sum of Rs 94000 for the Dhanaulasera to Bazar motor road but could construct only 500 meters long road till date.”We still need 2 km long road to link our village with the main road,” said Saurab Singh.

Pithoragarh District Magistrate Reena Joshi said that she has already taken cognisance of the problems faced by villagers of Dhanaulasera and had sent a team of seven officers to the village to know about their problems. “We have decided to address the  problems of Dhanaulasera on priority basis, “claimed the DM.


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