With Kathirimalai village in Anthiyur Assembly constituency inaccessible to reach by vehicle, election officials with the help of two donkeys and local people trekked the nine km rough jungle terrain ferrying electronic voting machines (EVMs), voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPATs) and other poll materials to reach the village in Erode district by Monday evening. Polling will take place on Tuesday.
The village coming under Bargur Panchayat is located 1,200 meters above sea level inside the reserve forest area of Chennampatti Forest Range in Erode Forest Division and has 134 voters. In the absence of power connectivity, only solar lights light up the village that has no mobile connectivity. The Government Tribal Residential Middle School serves as the polling station and the village can be reached only after trekking for four hours from Kathiripatti in the foothills in Kolathur in Salem district.
A team led by Zonal Officer V.S. Palanivel comprising polling and police personnel and forest guard travelled 58 km from Anthiyur and reached Kathiripatti. While EVMs and VVPATs were loaded in two donkeys, other poll materials were carried as head load by 10 local people. The team started at 3.30 p.m. in the foothills and is expected to reach the hilltop by 7.30 p.m.
After polling ends at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, officials have to climb down during night hours to the foothills and again start in a vehicle to the counting centre at Institute of Road and Transport Technology (IRTT) at Chithode, which is located 78 km away, for storing the EVMs.
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