From our Correspondent
TINSUKIA, April 5: The polling stations represent one of the most crucial aspects and the focal symbols of electoral democracy, and the District Election Officer (DEO) has been made responsible to ensure basic minimum facilities (BMF) to voters as identified by the Election Commission of India under seven categorized items, besides important parameters like boundary wall, access and entry. Many polling booths in Tinsukia district did not fulfil the minimum criteria vis-à-vis number of electorates that led to extreme inconvenience to voters, particularly to elders and women.
Talking to The Sentinel, on the polling day, some sector officers who were present near the polling stations maintained that they had made total assessment and inventory in proper format prior to filization but expressed their ignorance over the selection of such defective and unhealthy polling stations.
There are innumerable polling stations where elderly and sick people were made to suffer. Take for instance, 13,14, 15 and 16 number polling stations were housed in GK Girls’ High School, Makum under 122 Tinsukia LAC. In absence of adequate ramps and sitting arrangement many elderly people including women voters were seen squatting on the verandah and steps. Most of the polling stations in Doomdooma town other than MPS under 125 Doomdooma LAC are no different - congested, dark and small rooms, overcrowded beyond the carrying capacity, disproportiote to the number of electorates. Plight of voters is worst in 80,81,82 Bogapani PSs under 123 Digboi LAC. All these polling stations had single door with five-feet verandah having nearly 3,000 voters. Are these polling stations voter-friendly, as envisaged by the Election Commission of India?
Much hyped Model Polling Stations (MPS) witnessed a deserted look. This was perhaps because MPS was selected among 2-3 polling stations located under the same building having least electorate. AOD HS School under 123 Digboi LAC had three polling stations same as Hoonlal HS School under 125 Doomdooma LAC and in no MPS medical personnel were present to the extent that in Hoonlal HS other than a table no item was seen.