As polling personnel are leaving the district headquarters of Lakhimpur in Assam to conduct polling for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on Thursday for 14 Lakhimpur HPC, a riverine village near North Lakhimpur faces uncertainty to exercise their franchise.
Borbeel Major Chapori, a village on the river island on Ranganadi near North Lakhimpur is having an unprecedented problem to cast their votes in the Lok Sabha polls for 14 Lakhimpur HPC scheduled on Thursday.
The reason is the rise of the water levels of the river and the dirt it has been carrying for last two months. The villagers of Borbeel Major Chapori, all belonging to the Mising ST community have been casting their votes in 18 Borbeel LP School Polling Station located on the left hand side bank of Ranganadi river.
On earlier elections there were no troubles for the villagers to visit the polling station to cast their votes as they fell mostly during winter or pre-monsoon season when the Ranganadi turns dry.
However this time the people of Borbeel Major Chapori, with 225 voters are finding it difficult to travel to the polling station for the water level.
It may be recalled that since February 1 this year the water levels of Ranganadi has been on the rise due to the closure of North East Electrical Power Corporation (NEEPCO)’s 405 MW Ranganadi Hydro-electrical Power Plant located in the upstream of the river in Yazali of Arunachal Pradesh.
The release of the stored water from the reservoirs of the dam since February has been leaving the river in spates on its downstream areas in Lakhimpur district causing deaths to cattle and affecting other riverine agriculture activities of the winter season.
Moreover, the reservoir water has also been carrying huge amount of dirt and wastes to the downstream areas affecting villages like Borbeel Major Chapori near North Lakhimpur.
Besides causing harm to the local ecology of this riverine area, the dirt of the dam water has made the villagers to find it difficult to cross in shoulder deep levels in their daily life.
Now as the date of the polling for the Lok Sabha elections for 14 Lakhimpur HPC is closing in, voters in Borbeel Major Chapori, which falls into 111 Lakhimpur LAC, find it impossible to cross the river to exercise their franchise.
So far the district administration has not come out with a plan to facilitate the villagers to cross the river to cast their votes. It is learnt that the local MLA did arrange a boat to shuttle the voters from the village to the polling station on polling day.
But according to the villagers the boat is out of order and could not be used. If the case of the villagers of Borbeel Major Chapori is not addressed urgently, more than two hundred voters would be deprived of casting votes on polling day in Lakhimpur.