Central forces, polling staff to be airlifted to 83 stations

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Nov 21: Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir divisions have made arrangements for airlifting men and material for Assembly elections to at least 83 polling stations in first two phases of the polls on November 25 and December 2. The maximum number of polling stations that required airlifting of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), election staff and para-military personnel fall in first phase of polling and authorities would execute the task on November 23 and 24.
Maximum number of 27 polling stations, which could required airlifting of men and material, fall in Gurez Assembly segment (27) in Bandipora district of Kashmir followed by 26 at Warwan and Dachchan in Kishtwar segment, 10 in Zanskar, eight in Lolab, five each in Leh and Karnah and two in Kargil. All these Assembly segments will go to polls in first two phases of polling.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Rohit Kansal told the Excelsior that authorities were keeping fingers crossed on airlifting of EVMs and polling staff in 27 polling stations of Gurez Assembly segment in Bandipora district. He said if there was no major snowfall and the roads remained open, the polling parties would be dispatched by road. However, if there was snowfall in next couple of days, the polling staff and material will be airlifted to 27 polling stations of Gurez Assembly segment in Bandipora district. “A decision on airlifting of men and material will be taken on November 23,’’ he said.
Kansal said after Gurez, second highest number of 10 polling stations will require airlifting in Zanskar Assembly segment of Kargil district. In Kargil Assembly constituency, only two polling stations will need airlifting of EVMs, security and polling staff while number of similar polling station in Leh is 5.
Authorities would take a final view of airlifting the men and material for polling in the morning of November 23.
“The polling stations, where the security personnel and polling staff could reach by roads, would be dispatched the same day while in the areas, where roads were closed in view of early snowfall, the staff would be airlifted,’’ official sources said.
They added that a total of 60 sorties would be required for first phase of polling in case of adverse weather conditions but the number would come down if the weather behaved.
In second phase of polling on December 2, eight polling stations of Lolab Assembly constituency and five polling stations of Karnah segment, both falling in Kupwara district, would also require airlifting of EVMs, election staff and para-military personnel, they said.
Five polling stations in Doda districts, which were also part of contingency plan of airlifting, might not need the air sorties as there has been no fresh snowfall in Gandoh area, where the air sorties were proposed, sources said, adding that the men and material would now proceed to these polling stations by road.
Fifteen Assembly segments would go to polls in first phase on November 25 including six from Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts of Jammu region, four from Ladakh region and five in Kashmir Valley. In second phase of elections on December 2, 18 Assembly constituencies will have elections including nine each in Jammu and Kashmir.
None Assembly segments of Jammu included—three each in Udhampur, Reasi and Poonch while that of Kashmir were five in Kupwara and four in Kulgam districts.


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