Voters in Punjab will not have to travel more than 2 km to cast their ballots after new norms fixed for rationalisation of polling stations in the state were approved by the election commission ahead of the 2017 assembly polls.
“The program is primarily aimed at removing deficiency in any polling station regarding the building, location or convenience of voters,” Punjab chief electoral officer V K Singh said on Wednesday.
Detailing the norms, Singh said polling stations should be located in schools, government or semi-government buildings. All existing auxiliary polling stations are to be converted into main polling stations, he said.
Basic minimum facilities, such as electricity connection, ramps, toilet, drinking water, sheds to shelter the voters, telephone connection etc, should be available in the polling station building.
“A voter should not travel more than 2 km for casting his or her vote. Polling station should not be set up on the first floor and above,” he said.
Singh also said a maximum of two polling stations in a building would be allowed if it was a rural area, while up to 4 would be permitted if it was an urban area. New polling stations would be set up if the number of voters was more than 1200 in rural areas and 1400 in urban areas.
He said no polling station should be located in police stations, hospitals, temples or places having religious significance.
Political party office should not be within 200 metres of the polling stations. The minimum area of polling room must be 20 sq m, Singh said.
A meeting was held with all recognised national and state political parties and they have been asked to submit their suggestions to the returning officer of the assembly constituency or to the district election officer concerned, he said. Similar meetings were also being held at district and assembly level, he added.