Delhi polls: EC takes steps to make polling booths accessible to disabled

New Delhi, Feb 1: Ahead of February seven election, the Election Commission has been submitted a list of "troubled polling booths" in Delhi where differently-abled persons could face difficulties.

Deputy Chief Electoral officer A K Srivastava had called a meeting on January 27 with all the stakeholders to facilitate the differently-abled voters to exercise their franchise without any hassle during the upcoming assembly election.

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Satendra Singh, RTI activist and professor of physiology at the University College of Medical Sciences who was present at the meeting, submitted a list of 11 polling booths which had proved trouble makers for voters with disability in the past.

Also read: Delhi Assembly polls

In the presence of all three commissioners of civic bodies, measures taken during the last year's Lok Sabha election to facilitate such voters were reviewed and it was decided to repeat the same as they had proved successful.

Singh said he asked the government agencies such as Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE), Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and Institute of Physically Handicapped (IPH) and Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi to provide wheelchairs at the polling booths.

"I have given a list of troubled polling booths which include 11 names from different parts of the capital so that steps can be taken to make them assessable for such voters who often prefer not to step out if such problems persist," said Singh "This exercise to facilitate voters with disability will certainly raise the participation," Singh added.

During the Lok Sabha polls, Singh said almost 2,600 wheelchairs were provided by MSJE and DDA. This time, IPH is expected to provide 400 wheelchairs.

"I urge all the government bodies including MSJE and DDA to ensure that wheelchairs are in good numbers at the polling booths as measures taken during Lok Sabha elections were appreciated by almost all quarters," Singh said, adding that he would provide more names of inaccessible polling booths to CEO office in coming days.

The polling booths identified so far include Haveli Azam Khan, Chandni Chowk, booth no.56 at JNU, Mahroli Assembly, booth number A-28 in Subhash Nagar,block 26 Community Centre at West Patel Nagar, booths number 11, 12, 13, 14 in Rajokri, booth at SC/ST training centre, Dilshad Garden among others.

Singh said availability of wheelchairs at polling booths should be "non-negotiable".


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