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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Voter Park in disarray, admin to review it

cities Updated: Oct 17, 2019 21:31 IST
Rohit David
Rohit David

Gurugram Voter Park at Vikas Sadan, inaugurated this April by Rajeev Ranjan, then Haryana’s chief electoral officer, is currently in a shambles.

A visit on Thursday found the park in disarray, with leaves scattered all around, the selfie point poster torn, boards displaying district-wise voter turnout broken, plants dying, two dustbins placed right outside the park, water coolers with no taps, and an ambassador car in pink and blue colours — meant to woo voters, parked right in front of the park — covered in dust.

“We have seen officials take this car around the city by tying it to another vehicle. This is a scrap car, with two flat tyres and a broken bumper, unnecessarily occupying space at Vikas Sadan,” said an Aadhaar official whose office is in Vikas Sadan, Sector 11.

The car has three loudspeakers stationed on its roof, with a sticker of the district election officer of Gurugram pasted on it. “This is a symbolic car — the whole purpose of it is to encourage people to go out and vote. It is only meant to be an eye-catcher,” said Sant Lal, tehsildar (election), Gurugram.

The park was also covered in leaves and dirt, with many people operating in the area saying no one cleans it. Kishan Singh, who runs a tea stall in the vicinity, said, “I haven’t seen anyone come to this park. Also, no one cleans the park. The sound of leaves being squashed tells me that someone has entered the park, which is a rare occurrence.”

The park was designed on the basis of the Rock Garden in Chandigarh. At present, there are small rocks lying around the park but they are hard to spot, being covered by dirt all around.

A selfie point was made in the park, for voters to take selfies. It was at this point that additional deputy commissioner Imran Raza had taken a selfie with deputy commissioner Amit Khatri and Rajeev Ranjan on April 10, when the park was inaugurated.

“We haven’t promoted the voter park this time around, as we did ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. During the assembly elections, we have put up four hot air balloons at Sadar Bazar, Galleria Market, Sirhaul border, Manesar Toll and Mini Secretariat, sending out the message to people to cast their votes on October 21,” said Lal.

Creating awareness about elections and the right to vote was one of the key reasons the park was created, at a cost of ₹6 lakh. There are four display boards attached to bamboo sticks, informing visitors about the number of voters in the district and number of differently-abled voters. One such board, displaying the district voters, is broken, with ropes on which it was tied to the bamboo stick not there.

“I can’t say why this park has not been maintained. It is not in my jurisdiction and I don’t look after it,” said Lal.

Right next to the display board are benches, which are covered in dust. There are two dustbins right at the exit point of the park. “The water cooler stopped working a few days after the park was inaugurated. People drank from this cooler, but soon after the inauguration, someone took away the taps and at present, it stands like a dummy machine,” said Singh.

What seems to be intact are the three dummies, made from waste, of the electronic voting machine (EVM), voter verifiable paper audit (VVPAT) machine and an inked finger. The district administration said they will look into the upkeep of the park. Deputy commissioner Amit Khatri said, “We will review it.”