Votes a 'bridge' away in Hathia

The indifference of the public representatives towards a long-pending demand for a river bridge in this assembly constituency is likely to cost the various contestants here dear with villagers deciding to boycott the poll.

The residents of Hathia village in the “sadar” (town) assembly constituency have been demanding a bridge over the Tamsa river for the past 50-odd years but so far no public representative has done anything in this regard.

The residents of Hathia and some other villages, situated on the bank of the river, could reach the city within minutes but for the absence of a bridge over the river. Instead, they  have to travel for miles to reach the city.

“We have been demanding the bridge for many years but all we got are assurances,” says Dr Sujit Bhushan, a local resident leading the agitation for the bridge.

 “A bridge over the river would have connected several villages and thousands of people with the district headquarters directly. We have made every effort for it and even written to the chief minister and governor without any success,” Bhushan told Deccan Herald.

Bhushan said in 2009 the then commissioner of the Azamgarh division had got a survey done and an estimate of Rs 6 as construction cost of the bridge was fixed. The estimate was sent to the government but no action was taken by it despite assurances by PWD minister Naseemuddin Siddique in the state legislative council.

“Now the residents, irrespective of their caste and religion, have decided to boycott the elections…we have made it clear to the contestants that not a single vote will be cast here on the polling day,’’ he said. “We also held demonstrations in Lucknow and contacted many public representatives but to no avail,’’ Bhushan added.

Bhushan, who teaches political science at a degree college here, said there were around two thousand voters in Hathia alone. “The residents of some other nearby villages will also join us in the boycott…we think that around 5,000 voters may ultimately boycot the polling,” he said.

 Even the womenfolk and school children, who face a lot of difficulty in reaching their schools, have been visiting households in Hathia and nearby villages and urging people not to cast their votes.

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