Inadequate facilities mar polling in high voter turnout booths in Chandigarh - Hindustan Times
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Inadequate facilities mar polling in high voter turnout booths in Chandigarh

ByNaina Mishra, Chandigarh
Jun 02, 2024 07:18 AM IST

Voters were forced to experience searing heat while standing for over two hours to cast their votes; Furthermore, drinking water and cooler facilities were found inadequate at many polling stations; People also reported a major scarcity of wheelchairs, with only 2-3 available at many stations; this resulted in long delays for elderly and disabled voters

Lok Sabha elections in the city were marred by inadequate facilities and slow-moving voting at several polling booths, particularly in colonies which had high voter turnout. Many voters also faced significant hardships due to poor arrangements, leading to extensive resentment.

Polling stations in Sector 52, Sector 53, Sector 25, Sector 48, Dhanas, Maloya, Hallomajra, Raipur Khurd and Bapu Dham Colony were among those sectors reported to have long voter queues. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Polling stations in Sector 52, Sector 53, Sector 25, Sector 48, Dhanas, Maloya, Hallomajra, Raipur Khurd and Bapu Dham Colony were among those sectors reported to have long voter queues. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Despite government schools having sheds, no such facilities were made available at polling booths where voters’ queues extended up to 500 m beyond the station. Voters were forced to experience searing heat while standing for over two hours to cast their votes.

Furthermore, drinking water and cooler facilities were found inadequate at many polling stations. Many stations failed to even provide separate queues for elderly citizens, despite mandates requiring such arrangements. This oversight further escalated the difficulties faced by senior voters.

Adding to their problems, people reported a major scarcity of wheelchairs, with only 2-3 available at many stations. This resulted in long delays for elderly and disabled voters. At one such booth in Sector 40 C, only one wheelchair was available.

Polling stations in Sector 52, Sector 53, Sector 25, Sector 48, Dhanas, Maloya, Hallomajra, Raipur Khurd and Bapu Dham Colony were among those sectors reported to have long voter queues.

Rupesh Kumar, a voter at the Dhanas polling station, expressed his frustration, stating, “I have been standing in queue since 6 am. My turn has not yet come. It has been 1.5 hours already.” At Sector 48 A, residents began queuing as early as 6.30 am to cast their votes.

According to officials, 10-12 polling stations experienced long queues, causing delays and discomfort.

Chief electoral officer of UT Vijay Namdeorao Zade said, “Almost all booths had sheds, as all government schools have the facility. A noteworthy observation was that the queues outside the polling stations did not have sheds. We have made a note of this for the upcoming elections. The high turnout of voters at some locations affected the process, although we tried to expedite it by deploying additional polling staff.”

The department also picked up and dropped 40 voters with disability and old age to their polling booths.

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