Taxis, autos to pick up disabled voters; palkhis for the old in Mumbai
In a first, the Election Commission (EC) plans to provide ‘pick-up from home and drop back’ facility and dolis or palkhis (palanquins) at booths for differently abled voters on polling day (April 29) in Mumbai. It will also erect ramps for easy movement of wheelchairs.
Of the 94,60,900 voters in Mumbai, 5,921 are differently abled. Of these, 2,662 voters are from the island city, while 3,259 are from the suburbs.
The EC may hire black-and-yellow cabs in the city limits, and autorickshaws in the suburbs.
An NGO from the city, too, has offered to provide disabled-friendly vehicles to ferry voters.
Shivaji Jondhale, collector of Mumbai city, said, “Physically challenged voters can request for the facility on the voting day through the Election Commission’s Persons With Disabilities (PWD) app. We are working on how many vehicles will be required. A booth-level officer will get all details and provide necessary assistance to the voters.”
Another officer said the palanquins will be used to carry physically challenged voters, including the elderly and pregnant women, after getting off the vehicles, if the centres are on higher floors.
The officer said that at least two to three helpers will be posted at every booth to handle dolis.
Until now, activists of political parties helped the physically challenged to the polling booths, which many thought, used to influence their decision.