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Poll officials trek down 7,000 steps to reach remote village

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Nongblai, April 18: Ninety-six-year-old Siej Khongsni of Nongblai village in Meghalaya has never been so excited to cast her vote for Lok Sabha elections — with the impact of social media being the major reason.
She listens to speeches of contesting candidates on social media every day. “I am eager to cast my vote tomorrow. I am excited about it. I have made up my mind who would get my precious vote,” she told PTI.
However, she is also upset as none of the contesting candidates have visited her village during campaigning.
With a population of around 300 in 73 households, Nongblai has only 200 voters.
Along with numerical disadvantage, one has to climb down 7,000 stone steps to reach the village. It takes around two hours of trekking from the nearest motorable road at Lyngkhat village near Pynursla town, which lies between Shillong and Dawki.
However, a four-member polling team has already reached the village and is preparing for elections on Friday. “It was tiring but worthy of a duty towards fellow citizens and the country,” one of polling personnel said.
The village falls under Shillong Lok Sabha seat.
Village headman Embdorlang Khonglam said the residents have very little demands — better healthcare and a minimum support price for their produce which include betel leaf, broom sticks and bay leaf.
The village is special in terms of tourism potential although people are yet to make the best of it, he said.
The village headman said there is only one school up to class 8 and those passing out have to attend high schools in Lyngkhat, Pynursla or Langkyrdem towns. (PTI)

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