Contingency plan in place in case of snow, says EC

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Shimla, Dec 13 (UNI) The Election Commission (EC) today said a contingency plan had been formulated for the 576 polling stations in Himachal Pradesh that are likely to be affected because of early snowfall.

''The commission has prepared a contingency plan for the 576 booths in six districts and there will be no serious problem in conducting elections,'' Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy said at a press conference here.

Of these only two or three polling booths were likely to face serious problems for which the Commission has kept the helicopters ready for ferrying man and material, he said.

He said 245 such polling booths were in Shimla district, 123 in Mandi district, 89 in Sirmaur district, 83 in Chamba district, 28 in Kullu district and eight in Kangra district and steps had been taken to ensure that the process was not hindered due to the snowfall.

Helicopters would also be used to set up an auxiliary polling station at a height of 9,000 feet in Bara Bangal area of Baijnath constituency to allow voters cast their votes, besides in Kutlehar island in the Pong Dam, he said.

Mr Gopalaswami said 20 companies of para military forces would be deployed in the state during the polling to ensure free and fair polling in the state.

The poll panel has come across complaints of people below 18 years being enrolled in Jubbal and Kotkahi constituency of Shimla district, he said, adding that strict action would be taken against all people involved in this after a proper inquiry.

The Jubbal and Kotkhai tehsildar has already been transferred after the malpractice was brought to the EC's notice, he added.

Expressing satisfaction over the poll preparedness in all the 65 assembly constituencies where polling is to be held on December 19, the CEC said no serious complaint had been received from anywhere, apart from complaints regarding extensions to two officers in the PWD and Health Departments.

Replying to a question, he said the state Chief Minister had deposited a sum of Rs eight lakh for the use of government helicopter after he was issued a notice.

Mr Gopalaswami, however, warned the voters of strict action against dual registration and said such people would be prosecuted.

Giving a profile of the voters, he said there were 8005 voters in between 90 to 100 age bracket and 838 voters who were above 100 years old.

Of these, 239 voters between the age group of 90 to 100 and 30 above 100 were in Ghumarwin constituency alone, he added.


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