Siliguri, May 5 (UNI) At an attitude of 12,000 feet and with 702 voters, the Srikhola primary school in Darjeeling boasts of the unique record of being the highest polling station in West Bengal.
However, apart from the location, there is nothing much to boast about. On an average, three to four villagers die every year without receiving treatment and at least four to five pregnant women sometimes do not even make it to the nearest hospital, a 30 kms downhill trek.
It is the states' highest constituency. The polling station is surrounded by three village--Srikhola, Gurudang and Bichgaon.
Residents of the three villages say they are bound to cast their vote as they are pressurised by political parties. Being scared, they fear that they would be thrown out of their homes, if they do not vote.
A resident of Srikhola says, ''We have to vote as it is our duty, But as an old resident, I have not seen any improvement of Shrikhola.
''A road was being built to conjoin the villages with Rimbhic 29 years ago but not even a stone was moved since,'' the villager said.
The two villages, Guridung and Bichgaon are situated 5 kms uphill of the polling station. Ponies are used here to transport basic needs.
However, the residents of Srikhola, who use cell phones, say they have to travel an arduous 15 kms to charge their cell phones.
They do not know what is electricity. They say it is just a promise the politicians make before the elections. They hope things will change because hope is their only option.
UNI XC SP AD PM1337