Indian electoral staff to hike for a day through mountains to ensure single voter can cast her ballot

Indian electoral staff to hike for a day through mountains to ensure single voter can cast her ballot

It also has 518 polling booths where voters have to trek over 30 miles in order to cast their ballot. In some instances this means at least two days of walking to reach them, officials said.    

Ranikor and South Tora, south of the state capital Shillong are connected to the rest of the province by narrow dirt tracks and pathways while mobile telephone connectivity to both constituencies is poor. 

Officials said several runners, hired for a “modest honorarium” have been assigned the task of jogging in relays to carry messages to and from the commission.

Both assembly constituencies had the best long distance runners in the region as their remoteness forced locals to travel to nearby towns on foot.

Message runners in India date back to the advent of Mughal rule in the 16th and 17th centuries, when they were used to gather and disseminate intelligence, convey important messages and were employed by merchants to execute commercial dealings.

India’s British Colonial rulers who followed the Mughals two centuries later expanded their role, using them to distribute mail and other packages across the country. 

Mail runners became redundant in India in the late 19th and early 20th centuries after the spread of the railways, except for some remote Himalayan regions where connectivity still remains inadequate. 

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