GOALPARA, April 20 - Due to special arrangements made for them, People With Disabilities (PWDs), will no longer have go through a harrowing time when it comes to voting in the elections in the district. Talking to this correspondent, the District Election Officer (DEO), also the Deputy Commissioner, Varnali Deka said several innovative steps have been taken by the district administration in order to make the elections accessible to all.
She informed that training and sensitisation of poll personnel handling along the PWDs especially with braille training of ballots to the visually impaired have already been completed and mapping of 1,931 identified PWDs has already been carried out in the district. Special transportation arrangements will be made so that each of these PWDs, especially persons with locomotive and visual disabilities are able to cast their votes in their respective polling stations.
Deka further said that all polling stations have been made differently-abled friendly and special arrangements like the availability of assistive technology like braille ballot papers for visually impaired voters, provision of wheel chairs for the informed and with locomotive disabilities etc. A total of 812 poll volunteers, all anganwadi workers have been designated to assist PWDs on the polling day.
The district administration is also planning some eye catching innovative steps like felicitation of some PWD voters and asking local business establishments to offer some of the basic facilities at discounted rates to all the PWDs voters on the voting day in the district. She also mentioned that for the first time in the district, a polling station will be manned by a team of persons with disabilities ( PWDs) polling personnel � a positive step in confidence building measures.
She also mentioned that preference will be given by making provisions for separate queues for PWDs and senior citizens, male voters and female voters at the polling stations and volunteers in each of these polling stations will assist PWDs to reach polling stations. The PWDs will be assisted by the polling personnel inside the polling station. Further DEO Varnali Deka has appealed to all the electors of 7-Guwahati HPC and 4-Dhubri HPC to cast their votes ethically and wisely and requested them to vote between 7 am to 5 pm in order to avoid last-minute needless tension and confusion.