Middle of nowhere polling stations gear up for elections | india | Hindustan Times
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Middle of nowhere polling stations gear up for elections

india Updated: Apr 17, 2011 01:27 IST
Amitava Banerjee

With the Darjeeling District all geared up for polling on April 18, polling personnel for the P-2 booths (remote booths where one has to traverse on foot also) left the sub divisional headquarters on Saturday.

There are 16 P-2 booths in the Darjeeling district, 14 in Kalimpong and 2 in the Darjeeling sub-division. The furthest polling station is the Tangta Primary School, where one has to traverse 133 kms by vehicle from Kalimpong town and then walk 4 kms.

The highest polling station is located at Shrikhola at an altitude of 2800, below the world famous trekking destination Sandhakphu. It is 12 km away from the nearest settlement Rimbik (Rimbik has a motorable road connectivity with Darjeeling.) It is the highest polling station in the State and considered the third highest in the country.

Election personnel left on Saturday, two days ahead of the polling day (P-2.) They will also be using ponies and porters to transport the EVMs in many such P-2 booths.

Interestingly, in earlier days different coloured flags were used in some P-2 booths in Tangta with no means of communication at all. Different coloured flags used to be waved from hill tops to signal different messages to persons positioned at lower altitudes. The messages would then be relayed to the sector offices.

With elections having gone hi-tech, mobile phones, police personnel with RT Sets and man packs with repeaters will be pressed into service in all P-2 booths for smooth communication.

This time the SMS reporting System will be put into practice. The mobile phones of the presiding officers will be registered and SMS on polling details sent by the presiding officers will be instantly upgraded on the CEO website, stated Tamal Das, SDO Darjeeling.