On poll duty, staffers turn mountaineers, trekkers

On poll duty, staffers turn mountaineers, trekkers

Beyond just being good at work, election officials in poll-bound Himachal have to be good at something even more challenging. Many among them have to be good at mountaineering and trekking as well.

Election duty in certain parts of the high-altitude rugged hill state requires some good muscles and stamina. Election staffers are mandated to walk miles, climb mountains and even relocate electronic voting machines on boats and choppers to far flung, back-of-beyond areas to facilitate voters, some clustered in not more than a dozen houses. Here accessibility by motorable road is lacking, which is why these brave election duty officials are pitching in with all the zeal and stamina at their disposal.

Consider the Kurched polling station in tribal Lahaul-Spiti district. The polling staff is  required to make an inclined trek from the main road, right up to the polling booth on top of the hill. This with EVMs on their back. It takes several hours to reach the village by scaling the mountain. All this for less  than a dozen households who vote in the election.

A polling station (Bara bhangal) in Kangra district just cannot be reached by road. That's because there is no road to this remote polling station. It's an astonishing 70-km plus trek leading to this polling station. Natives say it takes two days to complete the arduous journey on foot. Thankfully, the election team is not  taking   this journey on foot. A chopper has been made available by the EC for officials to conduct poll in this area. HP has many polling stations where staffers will have to trek for anywhere between 2 to 5 km on foot.

Highest polling station

A polling station in the Fatehpur assembly constituency in Kangra is surrounded by lake Pong. Boats have been requisitioned by the EC to enable officials to reach this polling station. Himachal also has India's highest polling station - Hikkam in Lahaul Spiti located at more than 15,000 feet above sea level. The unpredictability of weather with the mercury plunging to freezing temperatures this time around is another challenge, equally for voters and election officials.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry