A long trek to cast their vote

Cut off: Residents of Gombegallu have to walk 7 km to the nearest bus stop.

Cut off: Residents of Gombegallu have to walk 7 km to the nearest bus stop.  

V. Paneesha

Soliga tribal people have to walk 15 km to the nearest polling station

Chamarajanagar: The Soliga tribe people of Gombegallu and Keredimba podus (tribal settlements) under the Kollegal Assembly constituency will have to walk 15 km to reach the nearest polling station set up at Government higher primary school in Udatti village if they want to exercise their franchise on April 30.

There are 55 families with a combined population of 135 in Gombegallu and Keredimba Podus, of which there are only 12 eligible voters. They are located in an inaccessible place in BRT Wildlife Sanctuary limits in Kollegal taluk. The living condition of the tribal people in these settlements is miserable with no motarable roads, school, hospital, electricity and basic amenities.

The Soliga people are forced to walk for about seven km to reach the nearest bus stop at Honnameti Estate. Their settlements are practically cut off from other means of communication. Children in the two settlements have forgotten going to school. Though the Government has started non formal schools under Sarva Shikshana Abhiyana scheme a few years ago, they are not functioning.

The prime occupation of Soliga tribal people is collecting minor forest produce. As there are no borewells, they have to get drinking water from Bhargavi.

Most of the tribal people of BRT wildlife sanctuary limits are not aware of the general elections. Though there are 135 people in the two settlements, only 12 names have been published in the electoral rolls.

Fourteen candidates are in the fray for the Chamarajanagar parliamentary constituency, however, no candidate has visited these podus seeking their votes. In spite of the repeated pleas for basic amenities, elected representatives have turned a blind eye to the plight of soliga people in various podus.

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