Polling booths for physically-challenged in Odisha soon

Cuttack: Encouraged by the recognition it got after winning the National Award for rehabilitating physically challenged persons, Cuttack district administration in Odisha is planning to make all polling booths of the district disabled-friendly.
All the 2,171 polling booths of Cuttack district would have ramps for moving a wheelchair to facilitate physically challenged people in exercising their franchise during the general elections due next year, a senior official said.
During 2009 general elections, the Election Commission (EC) had directed the state machinery to provide at least one wheelchair in each booth, but the same was not carried out properly in rural areas.
Similarly many schools, which serve as polling booths, do not have permanent ramps and therefore steps would be taken to set up temporary ramps there to facilitate movement of physically challenged persons, a review meeting to strengthen the system of voters' education and electoral participation (SVEEP) held here yesterday decided.
The district authorities also discussed measures to ensure better polling percentage at the meeting, he said.
It was decided that booths registering poor percentage of polling would be identified and a systematic approach would be made at block-level to encourage the people of these areas to exercise their franchise in large numbers.
Voters' awareness drive would be geared up targeting the young voters, particularly in the age group of 18-25 with more emphasis on first-time voters.