Reported by Simanchal Pattnaik
Phulbani, Mar 16:
While the process for the first phase Lok Sabha and Assembly elections have begun in Kandhamal district, lack of basic facilities in most of the polling booths has become a matter of concern for the district administration.
According to reports, most of the 537 polling booths in the district are located in the remote areas.
While there is no electricity in 472 booths, there are no drinking water and toilet facilities in 418 booths.
Besides, there is no specific provision in 32 booths to facilitate the elderly and physically challenged voters to exercise their franchise.
However, sources in the district administration said temporary arrangements have been made to provide drinking water and toilet facilities to the polling booths lacking these basic minimum facilities.
It may be mentioned here that the district administration had stepped up security during 2009 elections in view of the communal riots in the district in 2007 and 2008. However, it turned out to be an incident-free election, proving all doomsayers wrong.
For the ensuing elections, the district administration has identified Kotgarh, Brahmanigan, Daringbadi, Raikia and Tikabali as Maoist prone areas and the police are taking extra measures in these areas to deal with the threat.