It was a rare moment for Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla who met independent India’s first voter at remote Kalpa village in tribal Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh on Saturday.

Ninety-three-year-old Shyam Saran was the first to cast his vote in independent India’s maiden election on October 23, 1951 as the exercise was held in Kinnaur, which remains snowbound in winter, ahead of other places in the country.

Mr. Chawla spent some time with Mr. Saran and discussed the arrangements for the election then and now.

The tribals, especially women, expressed serious concern over degradation of environment due to construction of hydropower projects and sought his intervention. Mr. Chawla assured them he would ensure that their concerns reaches the right quarters, including the Supreme Court.