Crossing living root bridges, officials reach Meghalaya’s remotest poll station - Hindustan Times
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Crossing living root bridges, officials reach Meghalaya’s remotest poll station

ByDavid Laitphlang
Apr 17, 2024 09:46 PM IST

Tucked away in the jungle in the south-end of East Khasi Hills District, the polling station in Nongriat village is one of the most serene, most challenging, remotest and unmotorable polling stations in the country

Determined to reach every voter, a team of officials of the Meghalaya Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) on Wednesday reached Nongriat village with poll personnel carrying the electoral voting machine (EVM) and requisite accessories. Tucked away in the jungle in the south-end of East Khasi Hills District, the polling station in Nongriat village is one of the most serene, most challenging, remotest and unmotorable polling stations in the country.

Officials carrying poll material traversing through a double-decker suspension living root bridge in a remote village in Meghalaya. (ECI)
Officials carrying poll material traversing through a double-decker suspension living root bridge in a remote village in Meghalaya. (ECI)

To reach here, one has to go through an arduous trek over two steep mountains and navigate through a steel bridge and two small ‘living root’ bridges, before trekking down 3,600 steep steps to finally reach this amazing adventure paradise.

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Nongriat, with an electorate of 140 voters is one amongst Meghalaya’s 50 non- motorable polling stations, will participate in the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls on April 19.

Famed for its centuries-old Double Decker suspension living root bridge, an awe-inspiring example of human bioengineering, one has to cross the bridge on foot to reach the polling station, which is about 50 odd metres away. The final frontier for the road is Tyrna village, located 20 kilometres from Sohra and 65 kms from the state capital Shillong.

The village has a school with classes upto V and for higher education, students have to daily climb these 3,600 steps to Tyrna, where the school there has classes upto VIII. Those who wish to pursue further studies would have to travel to Sohra and then subsequently to Shillong for higher studies.

The rsidents in the 42 houses here bank on traditional indigenous herbal practices for health care and cellular connectivity is almost a dream for them.

Mostly agriculturists, they cultivate purely organic black peeper, tejpatta, areca nut, betel leaf, oranges and pineapples, which are traded in the local markets in Tyrna and Sohra.

One of the villagers, B Phawa, said, “We feel honoured and valued, to know that the Election Department is trying its best to reach out and include everyone in the voting process. It is something that pushes us to come out of our homes and vote for our sake.”

Chief Electoral Officer, Dr. BDR Tiwari said, “The lush green but difficult terrain is posting many challenges to the election personnel, but our mission to leave no one behind in this Lok Sabha Election as well as other elections, is the prime mover for each and every personnel who are giving their heart and soul to ensure high percentage of voting.”

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