More than 5,000 people will soon trudge along steep slopes of Uttarakhand with snow jackets, climbing gears and sleeping bags all packed up in their rucksacks. They, however, are not adventure enthusiasts seeking an adrenaline rush.
The group would instead be involved in another ‘uphill’ task – that of conducting the February 15 polls in far-flung areas of the mountain state.
Out of the total 10,854 polling stations in the state, over 2,300 fall under the category of ‘long-distance booths’ that are located in remote areas. The polling team would have to trek for two-to-three days to reach a few of these stations.
Uttarakhand chief electoral officer Radha Raturi said 803 polling booths in the state were located in snow-affected areas and special arrangements were being made to ensure that election teams headed for these stations were ready to battle the harsh weather conditions.
“We’d need around 5,302 sleeping bags, jackets and pairs of shoes for polling and security personnel headed to such stations,” Raturi told HT.
The required equipment will be sourced from agencies like the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), army, and Sashastra Seema Bal , she added.
- Over 2300 polling booths are ‘long distance booths’
- Over 803 polling booths fall in snow-bound areas
- Over 5302 sleeping bags, jackets and pairs of boots required for polling and security personnel
Among the long-distance polling booths, at least 12 require a foot journey of more than 20 kms. The polling teams will be required to leave well in advance, in some cases four days prior to the polls, in order to reach their stations on time.
“Polling teams will leave in advance for 62 remote stations in the Chakrata constituency. Ponies are being arranged to carry EVMs ,” said Dehradun district election officer Ravinath Raman.