Tribals skip breakfast to vote, travel more than four hours across mountain slopes in TN

In order to reach polling booth, they have to wake up at 6 am as travelling takes more than 3-4 hours to reach Thirumoorthy hill settlement.
Tribals from Poochi kottam parai settlement have arrived to polling booth in Thirumoorthy tribal settlement in Udumalaipet
Tribals from Poochi kottam parai settlement have arrived to polling booth in Thirumoorthy tribal settlement in UdumalaipetPhoto | Express

TIRUPPUR: Tribals skipped breakfast and travelled more than four hours to cast their vote at a polling booth in the Thirumoorthy tribal settlement in Udumalaipet.

According to reliable sources, Kodanthur tribal settlement has one polling booth, which helps voters from three tribal settlements Aduthurai, Poruparru and Kodanthur to reach them. Since the polling booth is just 2 kilometres away from Aduthurai and Poruppaary, tribals can reach within one hour. The same applies for Mavadapu tribal settlement which has one polling booth which is common for Kadutupatti and Mavadappu.

But Thirumoorthy hill settlement has one polling booth for five tribal settlements - Kurumalai, Mel Kurumalai, Poochikottamparai, Isaltattu and Thirumoorthi tribal settlement. the total voters are 668 voters. Tribals from Mel Kurumalai and Poochikottamparai have to travel more than 10 kilometres across mountain slopes and tough terrain. In order to reach polling booth, they have wake up at 6 am as travelling takes more than three to four hours to reach Thirumoorthy hill settlement.

Speaking to TNIE, Neelamegam (29) a tribal from Poochi kottam parai settlement said, "I got up around 6:00 a.m. and was very desperate to cast my vote this time. We had to skip breakfast as we need travel for more four hours. With 60 voters, including my friends and neighbours, we have to travel more than 10 km through the mountain slopes and terrain to reach the polling booth in the Thirumoorthy tribal settlement. We will reach our homes by 5.30 pm after returning from our settlement."

Mallika (32) a tribal from Mel Kurumalai settlement said, "I was suffering from knee pain for the past several weeks, yet I was desperate to vote. I, along with my neighbours, started around 7:00 a.m. I have to drink water from the streams flowing through the mountain slopes. I casted my vote around 10:00 a.m. Since we didn't have breakfast, we moved to a local shop near the polling booth for lunch. We returned to our home in Mel Kurumalai around noon."

Speaking to TNIE, K Kannamal (33) another tribal in Kurumalai settlement said, "I got up early in the morning around 6:00 a.m. I, along with my husband and neighbours, set out from my house at 7:00 a.m. Since the settlement is more than 40 km away from the polling booth, we decided to use a shortcut through mountain slopes and terrain, which was 7 km. But the path was filled with rocks, bushes and thick trees. It took more than 3 hours to reach the polling booth due to which we casted our vote around 10:00 a.m."

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