Two tiny polling stations to be set up in Telangana for 10 voters each

Auxiliary polling stations would ensure that the voters, who earlier were forced to trek rugged terrains to cast their votes, are spared of the difficulty, officials said.

ByPTI

Published Apr 14, 2024 | 6:42 PM Updated Apr 14, 2024 | 6:42 PM

vote. (iStock)

In a bid to demonstrate the importance given to every single vote and accessibility, the Election Commission is setting up two smallest auxiliary polling stations in Telangana’s remote tribal areas which will likely witness only 10 voters, each exercising their franchise in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In order to ensure that the voters, who earlier were forced to trek rugged terrains close to 20 km to cast their votes are spared of the difficulty, officials said the two polling stations will be set up in as many different Lok Sabha segments in the state.

Each station will be manned by six election officials, including a volunteer and security personnel.

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Auxiliary polling stations to save travel distance 

Under Achampet assembly constituency of Nagarkurnool Parliamentary segment, an auxiliary polling station will be set up in a private building in Mallapur ‘penta’ for 10 voters, which would help them save a 20-km trek for casting vote.

Similarly, another auxiliary polling station will be at an Anganwadi centre in Budidgattu in Devarakonda assembly segment under Nalgonda Parliamentary constituency, which too has 10 voters.

They earlier had to travel eight km to vote, EC and district administration officials said.

Overall, 10 smallest polling stations will be set up in Telangana under Nagarkurnool, Nalgonda and Mahabubabad Parliamentary segments which have electors numbering between 10 to 26, belonging to STs–Chenchu, Lambadi and Koya tribes, who earlier had to travel a distance ranging from 3 km to 20 km.

Seven of the smallest 10 polling stations in the state have been set up in Nagarkurnool District, they said, adding, a polling booth has been created at forest base camp in Sangadigundala for 22 voters, who earlier used to trek 16 km to excercise their franchise.

Another polling booth has been set up in a hut in Geesgandi for 23 voters, who earlier travelled 12 km to vote. The voters comprise different families.

In Achampet assembly constituency of Nagarkurnool district, there are certain Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) –‘Chenchu’ families living in deep forest in small groups, Nagarkurnool Collector and District Electoral officer P Udaykumar said.

These habitations (penta) consist of anywhere between 2-40 huts far away from mainstream villages and do not have civic amenities like roads.

They stay 20-40 km deep inside the forest and due to various limitations earlier, only one polling station used to be established inside the forest for all these habitations forcing them to travel upto 20-30 km for casting vote, he said.

“Each habitation is somewhere between 10-15 km away from each other deep inside the forest. At some places the voters had to start in the morning to reach the polling station and after voting in the afternoon they will come back to their own place probably by late evening/night. That was the scenario earlier,” he said.

“They had to travel long distances to cast their vote. They had to travel a lot either by walking or if they hired any vehicle like auto-rickshaw it would cost them dearly. We ensured that polling stations are prepared in all the habitats. Now we have established the polling stations within habitation,” the Collector told PTI.

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Facilities and arrangements

Asked on the arrangements and challenges, the Collector said in few places, the teams carrying poll material have to reach the polling station on foot due to inaccessible locations of the habitations.

In some cases, they had to setup polling stations in huts due to lack of permanent structures deep inside the forest, due to forest regulations.

On the number of personnel deployed on poll day, officials said each auxiliary polling station has four polling personnel besides police and volunteers.

“We have ensured solar power in all the polling stations, drinking water and other facilities. However, it is a challenging thing. In more than 60 per cent of the places there are no communication channels. So we established our own wireless network (VHF radio sets) and we get information about the status of the polling,” he said.

“These auxiliary polling stations are being set up for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group done for the first time. This is an effort for inclusion of marginalised sections–Chenchu groups. These initiatives have been done for enhancing voter turnout also,” the Collector added.

Polling would be held on 13 May for 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

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