Over 700 villagers in the Kalpitiya Islands of Battalangundunwa, Palliyawatta, Uchchimunai are complaining of difficulties in voting. According to them, they are unaware of who is the Grama Seva officer responsible for their areas. “We sometimes have one for about a month or even a week, and that is it,” a villager said adding that the majority of the people do not know who their Grama Seva officer is.
“We have to go to the District Secretariat to find out, then once we speak to the Grama Seva officer we are told to come to his office which is apparently located in Muttuarawa which is away from our village,” he said.
Another villager said they often have to travel around 13 km from their island village to cast their vote. “Some take their children also. We go by boat, some go by tractor and then we have to walk quite a distance as well. But we do this because we want to exercise our right to vote” she said adding that better facilities are not provided for the villagers in the area. “It is better if they could provide us with facilities to vote here,” the villager said.
However, when the issue was presented to the Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday he said it was too late to take any course of action now. “When people in Muttuarawa informed us of this we took steps to establish a polling booth there and given transport too,” he said. “If we were told in advance we could have taken the necessary steps,” he said.