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5 years after last LS polls, residents of remote Malin seek health facility, water and jobs

Malin is located in Ambegaon taluka of Pune district, about 110 km from Pune city, and it is part of the Shirur Lok Sabha constituency. The seat is set for a direct fight between Shiv Sena leader Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil and NCP leader Amol Kolhe.

About three months after the last Lok Sabha elections in 2014, a massive landslide on the morning of July 30 had swallowed 68 houses in Malin village and killed 151 people. It has been five years since the residents of the village were rehabilitated, and it’s time for another Lok Sabha elections.

As they voted in the fourth phase of the election on Monday, residents of the rehabilitated village said they wanted a representative in Parliament who will address their long-pending demands — employment for youth, access to healthcare and education and sufficient water for agriculture.

Malin is located in Ambegaon taluka of Pune district, about 110 km from Pune city, and it is part of the Shirur Lok Sabha constituency. The seat is set for a direct fight between Shiv Sena leader Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil and NCP leader Amol Kolhe. The village, with a main settlement and seven hamlets, has 437 registered voters. On Monday, when Shirur went to polls in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections, about 58 per cent of them turned up at the polling booth in a primary school. But a number of people, whose names were not in the voters’ list, were turned away.

Gangaram Zanjare, who lost five family members in the landslide, reached the polling booth at 8 am but couldn’t cast his vote. “My name was not in the list. I had voted in the last elections. My wife’s name has appeared wrong, but she could vote. I really wanted to vote.”

Gangaram’s family now lives in one of the 68 resettled houses that were built 2 km away from the old settlement. His wife, Paravatabai, said, “… Our area still has a lot of problems. The youth don’t have jobs and the income from agriculture isn’t enough. We have a primary health centre nearby but a better medical facility is over 40 km away. This a major problem in the rainy season, because we receive very heavy rains, and travelling all the way is not possible.”

Vijay Lembhe, who lost his father, uncle and uncle’s family in the landslide, said, “The reservoir of the Dimbhe dam is not far from our village. In spite of that, we can’t cultivate a second crop in the year as there is no way water can be brought here from the dam. The village also needs a college that is located nearby.”

Another resident, Jayashree Zanjare, said, “In a village which is so remote, we only get to know about our representatives from the development that reaches us. My parents and grandparents tell me that promises by political leaders should never be believed. I have voted for the candidate who I thought will bring development to this remote village.”

Our names missing, say residents
Several residents of Malin said they found their names missing from the voters’ list. “I know about at least 25 people from the village whose names were not found in the list even though they had voted in the last election. In some places, the names were wrong and in some places, voters’ photos were mixed,” said Vijay Lembhe.

He added, “We will now tell people to check their names so that they can vote in the assembly elections. The names of some people who died in the landslide or later due to natural causes are still in the list. These names need to be removed by submitting the death certificates.”

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