Navi Mumbai airport: Displaced residents ask where their polling booths are
As the state gets into election mode, around 20,000 project-affected people in Navi Mumbai, who have been displaced because of the airport project, are confused about where to vote.
Navi Mumbai will vote in the fourth phase on April 29.
The affected residents alleged that there has been no coordination from the election officials about voting guideline for the project-affected people.
Vijay Namdeo Suryavanshi, Raigad collector and district electoral officer, said, “Booth-level officials would interact with people in the coming week. The project-affected people would be guided and if the need arises, special arrangement would be made so that everyone can vote.”
The construction work for the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport is on in full swing, displacing many villagers.
Chichpada, Owale, Waghivali, Waghivali Vada, Ganesh Puri, kombad bhuje, Ulwe, Targhar and Kopar are some of the villages in Panvel taluka which have been affected by the airport project.
The displaced villagers have mostly been shifted to Karanjade, Ulwe and Pushpaknagar nodes developed by City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco).
“We have several questions after we left the villages. Will our names appear in new voters’ list or old? We don’t have any information,” said Avinash Patil, a displaced villager.
“As per Indian election process, special polling booths should be made available for the displaced people. But, there is no guideline till now,” said Patil.
Though the villagers are generating awareness on voting rights, they want officials to clear the confusion soon.
Pundalik Mahatre, an Ulwe resident, heads the coordinating committee of four villages — Ulwe, Targhar, Waghivali, Ganeshpuri and Kombadbhuje.
“In the last elections, booth-level officers came to the village to ensure that our names were on the list. We all want to vote but want clarity on polling booth,” said Mahatre.
“Nobody is willing to travel far to vote. It would be easy if special provision is chalked out for the displaced people,” said Mahatre.
In past few months, most of the residents from core Navi Mumbai airport area have been shifted to the nodes planned by Cidco. The developing body has set up schools for project-affected students in Ulwe and Karanjade.
Youngsters are tech savvy and use the internet to look for their names on the voters’ list. “We help others in finding their names on the list. But, the bigger issue is where should we vote, under Uran or Panvel taluka,” said Rajesh Patil, 32, Uran resident.