Despite strict EC guidelines, persons with disabilities continue to face problems at poll stations in the absence of proper facilities such as ramps and wheelchairs
Bongaigaon: The Election Commission’s (EC) directive to provide adequate facilities for persons with disabilities (PwDs) has turned out to be an eyewash at various polling stations of the state.
On Tuesday, a differently-abled voter had a tough time while casting his vote at a polling station in Birjhora Girls’ High School in Bongaigaon. The voter had to literally crawl his way to cast his vote at the booth in the absence of any facilities such as ramps and wheelchairs.
Incidentally, this was the same booth where senior Assam minister Phani Bhushan Choudhury also exercised his franchise during the third and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday.
Guided by the motto of 'No voter to be left behind', the EC had ordered the election machinery in all states to arrange transportation for disabled voters and their assistants on polling day to ensure their participation in the electoral process.
In an order issued to the Chief Electoral Officers of all states and Union Territories, the EC had directed them to arrange for pick-up and drop facilities for the differently-abled from their residence to the polling stations and back.
Government vehicles may be used for the purpose, the EC directive had said.
“There should be proper transport facility for persons with disabilities (PwDs) in each and every polling station on the day of poll. Government vehicles to be used for this purpose,” the EC said in its order dated September 27 last year.
“The District Electoral Officer/ Returning Officer shall be responsible for entire transportation exercise. A transport nodal officer shall be appointed for each district. Each and every PwD should be tagged polling station-wise and he/she should be picked up from his residence and dropped back there after he/she has cast their vote,” the order read.