Arunachal: Poll teams airlifted to set up stations

Arunachal: Poll teams airlifted to set up stations

Polling personnel after being airlifted at Vijaynagar, Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday. Photo credit: CEO, Arunachal Pradesh.

Four polling teams have begun their journey to set up polling stations in remote Vijaynagar in Arunachal Pradesh, which includes a 25-minute trip in an IAF helicopter followed by one to eight hours of trekking.

Situated at a height of 4,000 feet in Changlang district bordering Myanmar, Vijaynagar doesn’t have a motorable road yet. The 4,000-odd residents in 16 villages, comprising the Yobin (Lishu) tribe and retired Assam Rifles personnel, trek for six days (163-km) across the Namdapha National Park to reach Miao near the Assam border.

This is probably why connectivity continues to be the most important promise made before every election in the state, which shares a border with China, Myanmar and Bhutan.

Four polling teams, each comprising one presiding officer, four polling officers, one attendant and a policeman with four sets of EVMs and VVPATs (one extra) were airlifted by the IAF in an AN-32 transport helicopter in two sorties to Vijaynagar, on Thursday.

“One team will leave for 27 Gandhigram polling stations (1,338 voters) on April 9, which will require trekking for eight hours. The three other teams will leave Vijayanagar on foot on April 10 for Ramnagar (252 voters), Vijaynagar (865 voters) and Two Hut (726 voters), which take trekking for one to four hours,” said Lod Takkar, nodal officer in the chief electoral office, Arunachal Pradesh.

Elections for the two Lok Sabha seats and 60-member Assembly will be held together on April 11. A total of 7.94 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in the frontier state.

The four polling stations fall under the Miao Assembly constituency and Arunachal East Lok Sabha seat.

The IAF's transport aircraft AN-32 is used to carry essential items to Vijaynagar mainly from Jorhat in eastern Assam, but the service was stopped in 2016 due to the poor condition of the Advance Landing Ground (ALG). The work to upgrade and improve the ALG is underway.

A polling booth in the state’s Hayuliang Assembly constituency will have only one voter (a woman) in the Malogam Temporary Structure polling station. Polling station 52 SE (power) offices, East Side, Naharlagun under Itanagar (ST) constituency will have a maximum of 1,340 voters.