Transport facility arranged for tribal voters in Andhra Pradesh

TNIE highlighted challenges faced by tribals of remote villages in ASR dist, who need to cover 30 km for voting
Tribals of Madrebu in Pedakota panchayat, set off in a bus from Dayarthi village to exercise their franchise
Tribals of Madrebu in Pedakota panchayat, set off in a bus from Dayarthi village to exercise their franchisePhoto | Express

VISAKHAPATNAM: District officials in Alluri Sitarama Raju district facilitated the transportation of tribal residents from remote hilltop villages to their respective polling stations to enable them to exercise their right to vote.

Tribals of Madrebu in Pedakota panchayat, set off in a bus from Dayarthi village to exercise their franchise
Remote tribal villagers in ASR district plead for transportation facility

This initiative came in response to The New Indian Express’s reports highlighting the challenges faced by these communities, particularly the tribals of Kalyan Gummi village in Gumma Panchayat of Ananthagiri mandal, who had to travel nearly 70 kilometres, and the tribals of Dyatri, Madrebu, and Tunisibu villages, who had to cover nearly 30 kilometres to reach their polling stations.

Araku Returning Officer and Paderu Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) Project Officer V Abishek took swift action upon receiving these reports, directing revenue officials to organise transportation for the affected tribals.

Consequently, villagers from Madrebu in Pedakota Panchayat commenced their journey from Dayarthi village in Jeenabadu Panchayat to cast their votes at Pedakota polling station numbers 295 and 297.

Similarly, tribals from Kalyana Gummi village travelled from Chintalapudi in Devarapalli mandal to Medaparthi Polling Station Number 286, utilising buses provided and arranged by the district administration.

In response to this support, the tribals expressed gratitude to the ITDA Project Officer and other district officials for facilitating transportation, which allowed them to participate in the electoral process.

Further, they conveyed optimism that authorities would address their longstanding need for improved road connectivity to their villages in the near future.

 Tribals of Buruga and Chinakonela hilltop villages carry elderly women to polling stations on Monday
Tribals of Buruga and Chinakonela hilltop villages carry elderly women to polling stations on Monday Photo I Express

“For tribal residents from remote hilltop villages and villages situated far away in Anantagiri, Muchinputtu, and Pedabayalu mandals, transportation arrangements have been made. Buses, jeeps, and cars have been provided to ensure their access to polling stations. In the case of Gumma Panchayat, where residents would have had to trek 16 kilometres downhill, they were instead directed to travel 2 kilometers to Devarapalli in Anakapalle, from where buses were arranged,” the ITDA Project Officer said.

He further mentioned that similarly for villages like Dayarthi and others, seven to eight jeeps were organised to shuttle voters to and from the polling stations. These jeeps transported one group of voters to cast their votes, dropped them off, and then returned to bring another group.

Additionally, five jeeps were allocated for tribal residents from Bongaputtu and Kosaputtu villages in Lakshmipuram Panchayat who were voting for the first time. Furthermore, 10 jeeps were arranged for residents from Munchigputtu. These additional transportation facilities have played a crucial role in encouraging voters to participate in the electoral process,” he added.

However, despite these efforts, some tribals, like those from China Konela, and Buruga, were still faced with significant challenges. With no road access, these villagers had to trek 15 kilometres to reach their polling stations.They transported elderly residents using Dolis (makeshift stretchers). China Konela and Buruga, situated in Anantagiri mandal, house approximately 150 voters.

The villagers emphasised the urgent need for government intervention to lay roads, underscoring the critical importance of infrastructure development for remote tribal settlements.

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