To set up booths, polling parties to walk up to 24 km
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Conducting elections in Himachal Pradesh is set to test the official machinery, particularly in tribal and remote areas. Some of the polling parties, tasked with setting up the polling booths and conducting the election process on the D-day, will be traversing distances ranging from 11 to 24 km on foot from the road-head just to reach these remote and inaccessible areas. For the November 4 polls, many of these parties will start two days in advance to climb steep mountains and will come down only a day after the last vote has been cast.
The polling party tasked with setting up the booth at Kasha in the reserved Rampur constituency in Shimla district will need to walk 24 km on foot to reach the village.
The poll party headed for Shakti in Banjar constituency in Kullu district will need to walk 20 km just to reach the village. Similarly, to reach Gharhan in Kullu, the poll parties will walk 11 km. There are five more polling stations in Kullu where these parties will need to travel more than 10 km each just to reach the villages.
In the tribal areas of Kinnaur district, one poll party will walk 15 km to reach Chirang while another will travel 14 km on foot to reach Rupi. Two more poll parties will walk 13 km each to reach Kunnu and Shingarcha.
In Shimla district, there are 11 polling stations, for which the parties will need to walk over 10 km. There are another 14 booths for which parties will walk between seven to 10 km.
Each polling party will comprise 4-5 personnel on an average and will carry 122 items, ranging from electronic voting machines (EVMs) and envelopes to inks in their backpacks. With the possibility of EVM batteries discharging quickly in sub-zero temperatures looming large, these parties will also carry spare EVMs and batteries. While mobile phone and landline connectivity has been provided in most areas, there are at least 22 shadow areas in Kinnaur where there is no telecommunication signal. Very High Frequency (VHF) sets used by the Himachal Police will be pressed into service in these shadow areas.
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