As part of the initiative to ensure that more people come out to vote when the state goes to polls on April 30, the district administration has planned to set up nine model polling booths in the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency, one each in all legislative segments falling under it.
The Jalandhar seat (reserve) includes the assembly segments of Phillaur, Nakodar, Shahkot, Kartarpur, Jalandhar West, Jalandhar Central, Jalandhar North, Jalandhar Cantt and Adampur.
Earlier, the administration had planned to install 11 booths in these assembly segments but the state election commission released new orders to this effect on Saturday.
The district has 1,804 polling booths— 650 in urban and 1,154 in rural areas.
These polling stations will have basic facilities such as drinking water, sheds, toilets and ramps while wheelchairs will be provided to the aged or handicapped voters.
They will be equipped with furniture, sofas, chairs, TV sets, first-aid centres, help desks, facilities for differently-abled and the elderly, special assistance desk for women and signage.
A senior official said during the recently-held elections in Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and other states, a higher voter turnout was recorded at model polling booths than the normal polling stations.
He said facilities such as e-rickshaws, cooperative staff and separate waiting areas were also some of the unique arrangements at the booths. He said tents would also be set up and comfortable seating arrangements would be made for the voters.
He said in some states, such booths were decorated with flowers and even had welcome gates. About 100 volunteers would be engaged at the model polling stations to guide and help elderly voters, he informed.
He said polling stations in India were usually identified with rundown government buildings, dingy rooms and long queues. Hence, this was an attempt to change voters' perception about polling booths to increase their participation in the election process.
"We have received written orders to install one model polling booth in each assembly segment of the constituency. We will prepare the list where these booths will be located," district election officer Varun Roojam said.
He said the training for nearly 10,000 election staff would be held on Sunday. They would be made aware about all the guidelines issued by the election commission, he added.
In Nawanshahr, the administration has decided to set up a model polling booth at Meerpur Jattan village.
· Basic facilities such as drinking water, sheds, toilets and ramps
· Wheelchairs to be provided to the elderly and handicapped voters
· Furniture, sofas, chairs, TV sets, first-aid centres, help desks; facilities for differently-abled and elderly
· Special assistance desk for women and signage