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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Noida residents demand separate booths for urban areas

In 2014, the Gautam Budh Nagar constituency saw 60.3% polling. This time election officials think the polling should cross 60.70% as they hope their awareness activities will make an impact. But the office-bearers of RWAs do not agree.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 16, 2019 09:06 IST
Vinod Rajput
Vinod Rajput
Hindustan Times, Noida
         

If authorities want to improve voter turnout in urban areas, then they need to set up polling stations in residential sectors, rather than urban villages, various residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) have said.

In 2014, the Gautam Budh Nagar constituency saw 60.3% polling. This time election officials think the polling should cross 60.70% as they hope their awareness activities will make an impact. But the office-bearers of RWAs do not agree.

“We have been demanding that the urban voters should get their polling booths right in their residential areas or any nearby places within the radius of 1km. But in many areas, it has not happened this time too as the administration did not shift the polling booths from villages to sectors. It will discourage people from voting on April 11,” AN Dhawan, general secretary of Noida Federation of RWAs (FONRWA), said.

FONRWA and other residents’ bodies have demanded from the administration that they should create urban area booths only in residential sectors instead of villages.

“My daughter-in-law will have to travel three kilometres to vote. And many people will go to vote at a booth made in Gijhod village. This is happening because booth level officers (BLOs) and top officials in administration did not pay heed to our demands,” Dhawan said.

Meanwhile, the election commission team is holding awareness activities to encourage voters to use their franchise. But it has not changed booths for urban voters from village to sector, said residents.

“Booths in urban areas instead of villages has been an old demand. We thought the administration would provide booths in urban area to encourage voters. Even now they can do so if they really want to increase the voting percentage,” PS Jain, president of Confederation of Delhi-NCR RWAs, said.

In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Noida had recorded only 55.40% polling, the least among the five assembly segments of Gautam Budh Nagar constituency.

“At some booths, the polling was only 35% as urban voters do not prefer to go to village booths due to safety issues and distance. Greater Noida’s AVJ Height Housing Society has its booth in remote Sakipur village, where people do not like to go for voting. It impacts voting percentage negatively,” said Alok Singh, a member of active citizen team of Greater Noida.

In Sectors 119 and 120, over 8,000 voters residing in seven housing societies have their polling station in Parthla village’s government school.

“We are demanding that booths for housing societies should be in Sector 122 community center or in any housing complex. But our booths remain unchanged in Parthla school. Urban voters do not go to village booth due to parking issues and narrow lane,” Atul Thakur, a social activist from Sector 120, said.

The Gautam Budh Nagar administration said that it is not possible to change the booths now. “It is not the time to change the location of a booth. We have been conducting awareness campaigns across the district to encourage people to get involved and come out for vote. We hope voting turnout will increase this time for sure,” BN Singh, district magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar, said.

The constituency witnessed 60.3% polling, an 11.7% jump over the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, when 48.54% voting was recorded. In 2014 parliamentary polls, Noida had recorded 55.40% polling, while it was 63.10% in Dadri, 61.6% in Jewar, 65.06% in Khurja and 64.50% in Sikandrabad assembly segment. The five segments are part of Gautam Budh Nagar Lok Sabha constituency that will go to polls on April 11, 2019.

First Published: Mar 16, 2019 09:06 IST

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