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Walk on poll day worries voters

Sonelal Murmu of Kumainhi village in the Jamui constituency is worried about reaching the polling station, a 6-km walk from his home through forests, on April 10.

Every one in Kumainhi under Rajlakala panchayat is tensed at the prospect of walking to the Belatard middle school, around 6km away, to vote. The road is nowhere safe for them, as it passes through few of the most inaccessible areas in the region and forests. To make matters worse are the Maoists who have already threatened the villagers with dire consequences if they did not boycott the polls.

“At least 700 voters from remote villages such as Kumainhi would have to risk walking 5-7km to exercise their franchise at the Belatard middle school. We approached the officials concerned to change the polling stations but nothing has been done,” said Fakiruddin, the Rajlakala panchayat head.

Around 900 voters at Manikbathan, Bakhuribathan and Gairha villages have the same problem. They would have to walk through forests to reach their polling station in Borwa to vote in spite of pleas to the district officials.

Jamui district magistrate-cum-returning officer Shashi Kant Tiwary was unavailable for comment but sources in his office said the district administration has urged the chief election commissioner to shift 24 polling stations, spread across the Jamui Lok Sabha seat, based on the villagers’ complaints. The list does not include the Rajlakala or Borwa panchayats.

Superintendent of police Jitendra Rana said Maoist threat and the remote location made it hard for the administration to meet the demands of the villagers.