Uttarakhand Stories

Polling Officials conquer snow laden booths at 10,000 ft for 275 voters in U’khand

by Pragati Chauhan
Feb 17, 2017

With news surfacing that Uttarakhand has set a benchmark with a record-breaking 68% voting in the Assembly Elections 2017, we mustn’t forget that the credit of this feat belongs to the diligent polling officials, who had gone beyond limits to ensure that voters of the unfathomed hill areas get a chance to exercise their franchise.

Uttarakhand breaks the record with 68% voting in Assembly Elections

On Wednesday, Uttarakhand was bestowed with the biggest opportunity of turning tables and forming a new government. Much enthusiasm was seen among the voters and it is estimated that around 68% voters turned up at the polling stations to cast their votes. Speculations are that Udham Singh Nagar received the highest voters i.e. 76.23% and the lowest voters appeared from Almora i.e. 52%.

Src, Photo by Mukesh Yadav

The high altitude polling booths in the hilly areas couldn’t become a barrier to the officials and the voters

While the voters of the plain areas were having no such issue of transportation and accessibility at the polling booths, their counterparts the hill folk, as well as the polling officers, had to hustle to reach the polling sites. The credence for hitting the high spot with 68% voting in Uttarakhand Assembly Elections, a record for the hill state goes to a group of polling officials who trekked for over 24 km through the snowbound terrain so that the 275 voters of the Tehri Garhwal constituency get the right to exercise their votes.

The polling booths in the Ghansali constituency were among the 479 snow-shrouded booths in Uttarakhand, where the polling parties reached after long tiring treks. Tucked high at 10,000 feet above sea level, the Ghansali constituency area lacks motorable roads and has poor mobile connectivity. The only option one has is to trek to reach the site, said an Election Commission Officer.

Src, Photo by Mukesh Yadav

A polling party deployed at Badrinath had to trek for three consecutive days to reach the booth on Wednesday of February 15

Being well equipped with all the necessary trekking essentials like sturdy snow boots and cosy sleeping bags, the officials started their trek on February 12 and successfully conquered the polling station at Badrinath a day before the elections. The poll panel told that the party with their EVMs will descend on Thursday and will reach the base point on March 11, where the votes will be counted. Speaking to CNN-News18, Chamoli SP Preety said: “In Dumuk, the polling party had to trek for 24 km. They started on February 13 and we used VHS sets to keep in touch. In most other places, we ensured that booths were at the base. Since most residents here have a summer house in the plains, we could do this”.

Src, Photo by Mukesh Yadav

Hopes are high with these elections

This being said, we must not forget that things could have been better in the hill areas if only they had the necessary resources and facilities. What these officials went through, the hill folk had to go through it every single day without getting media’s attention and applause. So instead of making voting easy, the government should rather focus on fulfilling their promises and on the development of the hilly areas. The first step would be to build swift roads that connect the villages to the world outside, thereby making access and trading easy. Things need to change for better and these villagers have high hopes from the Assembly Elections. Now the results will only tell whether the promises made by the candidates were a part of the voting gig or they have actually tied their belts to bring a revolution.

Pragati Chauhan

A writer by profession, thinker by choice and a nature lover since birth. I have always loved expressing myself through words, I believe words have a certain kind of melody which can be understood by anybody.

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