Behind The Scenes, Polling Officials in Sikkim Prepare to Set up Booths at Highest Altitude
Situated close to the India-China border at an altitude of 13,500 feet, Gnathang Valley is covered with almost an inch of sleet and snow. Weather forecast predicts rain and scattered thunderstorms in the next 48 hours.
An awareness programme was held recently at the constituency. (News18)
Carrying their bedding, warm clothes and polling material, a team of election officials in East Sikkim would make their way to Gnathang Valley to set up two booths for the least number of voters at the highest altitude.
A total of 180 registered voters from 21-Gnathang Machong Assembly constituency will exercise their franchise on April 11 to elect their representatives to the Assembly, as well as, the Lok Sabha.
Situated close to the India-China border at an altitude of 13,500 feet, Gnathang Valley, at present, is covered with almost an inch of sleet and snow.
Weather forecast predicts rain and scattered thunderstorms in the next 48 hours. Polling officials would be working here at sub-zero temperatures, assisted by sector magistrates and booth-level officers to help them with basic facilities, including drinking water, lavatory and electricity.
“Polling teams are adequately equipped to deal with such situations. In Gnathang, where we have the least number of voters, the authorities, including the Border Roads Organisation BRO, Army and paramilitary forces, have been kept on a standby for assistance if needed,” said Kapil Meena, District Election Officer (East).
According to the DEO, a team of eight-nine polling personnel, all of whom are well-acquainted with local conditions, would be dispatched from Ranipool near Gangtok on Wednesday, and would be travelling 84km to reach Gnathang.
Another polling booth would be set up at Kupup, which is located nearby at 13,100 feet above sea level.
“We are also keeping rescue vehicles for such locations so that transit can be done and they are not stuck in the night due to snowfall, rain or road blockades,” said Meena.
The teams are carrying electronic voting machine (EVM)s and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)s, an awareness programme for which was held recently at the constituency.
Besides Gnathang, there are 11 Assembly constituencies in East Sikkim which have 214 polling stations and a total of 1,90,135 voters.
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