To make voting a pleasant experience, 53 model polling stations have been established in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir by the Election Commission of India. The district, having 301 polling stations with 1.94 lakh voters and 71 polling stations, falling in Ramban and Udhampur district with 44,000 voters as part of Reasi and Gool Arnas assembly constituencies, will be going to polls on April 17.
In more than six month long plan for establishment of model polling stations, 16 types of services and facilities have been made available at these polling stations. There will be no queues and instead tokens will be given to voters as per their serial number.
A red carpet, tents with seating arrangements, furniture and face lifted buildings, voter facilitation counters, signage, drinking water bottles, refreshments, first aid centre, live entertainment, a help desk, special facilities for differently abled and aged voters are few among these services. Each MPS has been given a flat screen television set with DTH dish connection for voters’ entertainment and more than 10 cultural troupes will be performing live.
Reasi district, having three assembly constituencies i.e. Gulabgarh, Gool-Arnas and Reasi, with 177 sensitive and 44 hypersensitive polling stations in 2014 elections, recorded a dismal 43% turnout in 2009 Lok Sabha elections with a meager 32% women turnout.
Another significant measure is declaring all 301 polling stations as ‘no women queue’ polling stations. The women voters will not have to stand in the queue and instead a team of three volunteers deputed at each polling station will offer them a seat and provide a token indicating their serial number and assist them on their turn to enter the voting compartment.
District election officer Shahid Iqbal informed that more than 100 odd activities of electoral awareness and participation are active in the district under 34 different campaigns targeting particular groups and it has a hope that turnout will see a rise.