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Vehicle crunch for rural polls in Assam

The state election body is trying to get transport in Morigaon, Nagaon, Barpeta and Nalbari districts from other areas

By Pankaj Sarma in Guwahati

  • Published 4.12.18, 12:10 AM
  • Updated 4.12.18, 12:10 AM
Buses at the Sonaram High School field in Guwahati on Monday.
Buses at the Sonaram High School field in Guwahati on Monday. Picture by UB Photos

The Assam State Election Commission is facing shortage of vehicles in four districts for transportation of men and material for the December 5 and 9 panchayat polls.

Campaigning for the first phase of polls came to an end on Monday afternoon.

“We are facing problems because of unavailability of sufficient vehicles in Morigaon, Nagaon, Barpeta and Nalbari districts to be used for poll duty,” state election commissioner H.N. Bora told The Telegraph on Monday.

“Since an adequate number of vehicles was not available locally in these districts, our transport cell in Guwahati is now trying to arrange vehicles from other places.”

Morigaon and Nagaon will go to polls in the first phase on December 5 and Barpeta and Nalbari in the second phase on December 9.

Bora said they had faced another problem related to transportation in the riverine areas because of the statewide ban imposed on plying of mechanised country boats (locally known as bhut-bhutis) following a boat capsize in Guwahati on September 5. “The problem has now been sorted out as the transport department has agreed to relax the ban for us after we wrote to them seeking an exemption.”

Of total 14,077 polling stations for the first phase, 1,799 have been declared “very sensitive”, 5,162 as “sensitive” and 7,116 as “comparatively safe”. Of the total 9,428 polling stations for the second phase, 1,866 have been declared as “very sensitive”, 3,081 as “sensitive” and 4,481 as “comparatively safe”. One section of armed security personnel will be deployed in every “very sensitive” polling station and half section in “sensitive” polling station.

Of the 26 districts where panchayat elections will be held, 16 will go to polls in the first phase and 10 in the second phase.

Bora said polling will be held from 7am to 3pm except for two polling stations in Tinsukia district. “On a request made by the Tinsukia deputy commissioner, voting will be held in the two polling stations from 6am to 2pm because of logistical issues as these polling stations are located in remote riverine areas,” he said.

Appointed: The Election Commission appointed deputy secretary to government of Assam, fisheries department and managing director, AFDC, Nirmal Kanti Debnath, as election observer for Hailakandi district. People can contact him on 9435070134.

Ajmal skips meetings: AIUDF president Badaruddin Ajmal on Monday failed to address scheduled election meetings at Tinsukia, Kharupetia, Kasua, Boragaon, Moirabari as his helicopter developed a technical snag.

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