‘Senior citizen-friendly polling booths in DK’

Sveep Committee Chairman and Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Selvamani R speaks to mediapersons in Mangaluru on Friday.

As a novel initiative to increase voting percentage in Dakshina Kannada, the District Sveep Committee is mulling over setting up senior citizen-friendly polling booths.

Speaking to reporters here, on Friday, Sveep Committee Chairman and Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Selvamani R said that around five to 10 such booths would be set up in the areas that have a lot of senior citizens. The booths will be provided with wheelchairs, walking sticks and walkers. That apart NCC and NSS volunteers will help the senior citizens at polling booths.

He said Village Rehabilitation Workers (VRWs) and Multi Purpose Rehabilitation Workers (MRWs) have already given a list of senior citizens and persons with disabilities to the authorities.

The committee is also planning to set up persons with disabled (PWD)-friendly polling booths.

All polling booths will have sturdy ramps (which wheelchair-bound voters can use). A database of differently abled voters is being created and their list will be provided to booth-level officers so that they can be given special assistance at the booth, he said.

The district has 10,911 PWDs, including 6,237 male voters. There are 2,163 PWDs in Belthangady, 1,227 in Moodbidri, 1,205 in Mangaluru North, 277 in Mangaluru South, 1089 in Mangaluru, 1,757 in Bantwal, 1,360 in Puttur and 1,833 in Sullia Assembly segments.

Further 20 to 25 Pink polling booths — ones fully managed by women — will also be set up. In addition, ethnic polling booth will also be set up, he added.

Demonstration

Selvamani said that already one round of demonstration on EVMs and VVPATs had been conducted in the district. As many as 656 teams have completed demonstration in 1,014 polling booths. A total of 1,53,870 voters have exercised their franchise during the demonstration of EVMs and VVPATs.

Further, he said awareness is also being created on social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp on the need to exercise franchise.

The Helpline 1950 which was receiving four to five calls has started receiving over 100 calls seeking details related to voters, polling booths and so on, Selvamani said.

Awareness

To create awareness among young voters, the Sveep Committee will organise Kite Festival by involving young voters. In addition, human chain, cyclothon, marathon (18-km), sand art, walkathon, surfing for democracy and others will be organised, he added.

Stating that the Sveep activities have been intensified in the areas where voter turnout was poor during the last Assembly elections, the Sveep Committee chairman said that Booth-level Awareness Groups (BAGs) had been strengthened at the rural areas and outreach programmes had been initiated by including anganwadi workers, health workers, Asha and SHG members.

Awareness programmes are also being carried out at major construction sites. Voice recordings of celebrities will be used to instill confidence and short films will be screened. Street plays will also be staged, he added.

He said kiosks/video slides in shopping malls will be set up to create awareness in urban areas.

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‘Senior citizen-friendly polling booths in DK’

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