75,000 residents in the eastern part of Chittur been demanding water from the Parambikulam Aliyar Project.
On the premises of a few polling stations in the district, booths supporting an unusual ‘candidate’ sprouted on Thursday. They were rooting for NOTA (none of the above).
The Water Users Association, a forum comprising people from three grama panchayats in Chittur (Alathur Lok Sabha constituency), bordering Tamil Nadu, had taken up the initiative to bring to the notice of the authorities the acute water shortage in the region.
The eastern part of Chittur is a rain shadow and water-starved area.
The 75,000 residents of Kozhinjampara, Vadakarapathy, and Eruthiampathy, which come in the region, have been for long demanding water from the inter-State Parambikulam Aliyar Project (PAP).
Their four-decade long struggle continues still. During summer month they get drinking water supplied by the district administration in tanker lorries.
The members of the association, a non-political organisation, had recently met Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph demanding water from PAP, after completing the half constructed Right Bank Canal (RBC) of Moolathara Dam.
To get the point across, the organisation set up ‘NOTA’ booths in front of polling booths in these three grama panchayats and issued voter slips, urging them not to vote for any candidate as all political parties had failed to solve their problem.
Albert Anandraj, a priest from Kozhinjampara, told The Hindu that the Water Users Association had organised a NOTA campaign prior to the election.
He said large number of people supported the association and voted for NOTA.