ANI Photo | Meghalaya: India’s toughest unmotorable polling station, Nongrait, braces for polling on April 19

India’s toughest unmotorable polling station, Nongrait, is ready for polling in the first phase of the Lok Sabha election on April 19.
In Meghalaya, there are over 74 non-motorable polling stations. Nongrait Polling station in East Khasi Hills with 140 voters is close to culturally unique, bioengineering wonder and world-famous double-decker living root bridge that is accessible only on foot.
The ANI team visited Nongrait village to get a sense of how difficult it is to reach this polling station after crossing two mountains and climbing down 3,400 steps to an insurmountable and pathless place.
Nongrait is a village in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya State. It is perhaps best known for its living root bridge, an impressive double-decker suspension bridge. The polling station can be reached by passing the double-decker root bridge.
meghalaya indias toughest unmotorable polling station nongrait braces for polling on april 19 – The News Mill
Tomorrow, i.e., April 17, the polling officials from Cherapunji will reach here with the Electric voting machines (EVM).
The last mile motorable place is Tyrna village, which is 60 kilometres far from Shillong. After reaching Tyrna, one has no option other than to walk. From Tyrna one has to climb two mountains, crossing a two-foot bridge made with steel wire and two root bridges. The last one is the double-decker root bridge. The polling station is 50 metres away from this root bridge.
Elbinson, aged 44, whose main occupation is farming, said that polling officials reach here two days before the polling date. According to the voter list of Nongrait village, there are 140 voters in this polling station, named 27 Nongrait polling stations. People vote here very enthusiastically.
He said this place is neglected by politicians. Neither a Member of Parliament nor a Member of the Legislative Assembly take this village seriously. Promises are never met by the politicians.
Elbinson said that Ropeway is the long pending demand of this and other villages but still people are waiting.
“On the name of the building, we have a primary school at the class 5 level and a community hall. For 8th grade education, students have to climb 3600 steps to Tyrna village which has school till 8th and for higher secondary education, they have to go to Cherapunji, which is 12 kilometres from Tyrna village. There is no hospital or primary health centre nearby. Here mobile network is also a big issue,” he said.
Another villager, Chally Mawa, aged 45, is running a guest house here, as this is a very well-known tourist place.
Mawa said that living in this village is very tough.
“Villagers are forced to bring every item of basic need on their shoulders. The prices of everything are double here. One litre water bottle cost her Rs forty which should be Rs 20 like everywhere. There is no road. Conveyance is a very big problem here. Our main income is from tourists. Around 250-300 tourists come here daily. There are 40 houses in the village. The main occupation of villagers is farming. They produce black peeper, tejpatta, pan supari, oranges and pineapple and sell it in Mandis,” he said.
Meghalaya Chief Electoral Officer BDR Tiwari said that they have a lot of challenges in terms of weather and geography.
There are many areas where one has to cross rivers through living root bridges. Nongrait double Deccer bridge is one of them. There are many polling stations in the state where we can’t reach through vehicles so the polling parties have to walk.
On the non-motorable polling stations at Khasi Hills, Meghalaya Chief Election Commissioner BDR Tiwari said, “Meghalaya receives the maximum rainfall and is a hilly region. So, we have a lot of weather and geographical challenges here. But we are prepared to address the challenges. We have approximately 50 polling stations that are unable to be reached by vehicles. We are prepared to deal with the rain. The elections will be held smoothly.” (ANI)

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