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June 1, 2024

Villagers Boycott Voting to Protest Coal Dumping Yard in Dumka

In a significant act of protest, over 400 residents of Bagdubhi village in Dumka district abstained from voting in the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Saturday. This boycott was a demonstration against the construction of a coal dumping yard, according to local officials.

Out of the 430 registered voters at booth number 94 in Bagdubhi village, only four individuals cast their ballots by 3 PM, reported Dumka Circle Officer Amar Kumar. The remaining 426 voters chose to forgo their right to vote in order to make a strong statement against the proposed coal dumping yard by the Railways.

The villagers have been vocal in their opposition to the yard’s construction, fearing the negative impact it would have on their environment and health. Despite the sub-divisional officer (SDO) Ajay Kumar conducting a meeting with the villagers to address their concerns and promising to escalate the matter to higher authorities, the villagers remained steadfast in their decision to boycott the polls.

Lakshman Soren, a representative of the village, expressed the community’s demand for a written assurance to halt the construction. “We made it clear that if the SDO gives us an assurance in writing to stop the construction of the yard, we will go to cast our votes. But, we were not given any such assurance,” Soren told PTI.

Meanwhile, the overall voter turnout in the three Lok Sabha constituencies of Jharkhand—Dumka, Rajmahal, and Godda—was reported at 60.14% by 3 PM on the same day. The voting process, which commenced at 7 AM and was scheduled to continue until 5 PM, saw participation from approximately 53.23 lakh eligible voters.

The situation in Bagdubhi village underscores the ongoing tension between local communities and infrastructure projects that they perceive as harmful. The villagers’ boycott highlights the extent to which they are willing to go to protect their land and environment from industrial encroachment.

As the election officials tally up the final votes and assess the impact of such boycotts, the concerns of Bagdubhi villagers serve as a poignant reminder of the importance of addressing environmental and health issues linked to developmental projects. The coal dumping yard in question not only threatens the ecological balance but also the very livelihood and wellbeing of the villagers.

This incident in Dumka is a call to action for authorities to engage more effectively with local communities, ensuring their voices are heard and their concerns are addressed. The villagers’ demand for a written assurance reflects a deep-seated mistrust in verbal promises and a desire for tangible commitments from officials.

In conclusion, the voting boycott by Bagdubhi villagers during the Lok Sabha elections is a powerful protest against the construction of a coal dumping yard. It highlights the ongoing struggle between developmental projects and environmental preservation, urging the need for more inclusive and considerate planning by the authorities. The resolution of such conflicts is crucial for fostering trust and cooperation between the government and the communities it serves.

Read more latest news on R9 News

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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