Tamil Nadu Meeting Elections | A street to a sales space by way of Karnataka

Officials have to travel 54 km in T.N. and another 29 km in the neighbouring State to reach Kuttaiyur

Reaching a polling station in the Anthiyur Assembly constituency can be a herculean task for election officials. They have to travel 54 km by road in Tamil Nadu and another 29 km in Karnataka to reach Kuttaiyur in the Bargur panchayat.

Located on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border and 83 km away from Anthiyur, the Government Tribal Residential Middle School serves as a polling booth for 489 electors of the village and Velampatti.

The officials have to cover 54 km from Anthiyur to Kargekandi in Chamrajanagar district of Karnataka and travel 24 km from there to Jallipalayam. Then, they have to travel five km to reach the border, cross a stream and walk 750 metres to reach Kuttaiyur. “It takes about three hours to reach the booth from Anthiyur,” says an election official who recently visited Kuttaiyur. After polling, the materials have to be transported to the counting centre at Gobichettipalayam, which is 47 km away. The official says a mini-lorry will be used for transport, while the hand-held transceivers of the Departments of Forest and Police will be used for communication as the village has no mobile phone link.

The village, which has a population of 450, is located 27 km away from the Kadambur Hills. It can also be reached through a five km forest pathway from Makkampalayam. But boulders and four streams along the stretch will damage EVMs and VVPATs, says the official.

Commuting has been an arduous task for the villagers, who depend on a pick-up vehicle to reach Makkampalayam and then take Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation buses to reach government offices at Anthiyur. To buy groceries and visit hospitals, they go to Jallipalayam. Inaccessibility has forced students of the village to drop out and become labourers. Child marriages are also rampant.

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