Thus far, donkeys lent a helping hand to the election department in carrying EVM’s and poll materials to Kathirimalai tribal village in Anthiyur assembly segment. The village, situated inside the forest area coming under Chennampatti Forest Range in Erode division has about 113 voters. Until, the last Lok Sabha polls, arrangements for the polling day in Kathirimalai village would commence days ahead of other booths due to the long trek by the election department staff in the hilly terrain. A voting booth was established at the Government Tribal Residential Middle School at the hills only in 2016 assembly polls. Before, the villagers were forced to trek several hours and then took the public transport system to reach Anthiyur to cast their votes. “It’s a more than eight kilometre arduous trek in jungles. The donkey would be hired and loaded with poll items to be taken to the village. But this poll is expected to be different as pick up vehicles are likely to be used to carry the poll paraphernalia, thanks to the mud paths laid by the forest department,” said an official of the election department requesting anonymity.
A pick up van was operated on a trial basis on the repaired stretch. “It still poses risks due to the rough nature of the terrain. For carrying poll paraphernalia, only GPS fitted vehicles have to be used. Before arriving at a decision, the risks involved have to be examined thoroughly. A final decision is yet to be taken,” said a poll official.