On the big day of polling for the Lok Sabha elections 2019, lack of arrangements at some polling booths made it difficult for differently abled persons to cast their votes in some parts of Dehradun.
State President of Nanda Devi Divyang Association, Vasant Thapliyal said, “Election Commission made big promises about providing better facilities this time, but history repeated itself. In Patelnagar, there were various booths which had no wheel chair, ramp facility and arrangements to pick and drop differently able persons. This made it difficult for the differently abled to cast their votes.”
He said, “Many of our members from Garhwal also complained about lack of facilities. Assurances given by the authorities seemed to have turned out to be hollow in some places.”
However, not all differently-abled voters faced inconvenience. Munna Singh Kunwar, resident of Lower Garhwali Colony who came to cast his vote in SGRR Nehrugram said that he faced no problem while coming down to the polling booth. He said, “I was contacted by one of the volunteers. They came to pick me up, took me to the polling booth and dropped me home afterwards.”
In the polling booth inside National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities (NIEVPD) about 55 per cent of the 957 differently-abled voters cast their votes. The institute director Nachiketa Raut said, “We are the only polling in the entire country which was 100 per cent accessible to persons with any type of disability that’s been mentioned in RPWD Act. On the main gates announcements for the visually handicapped were made, sign language posters and tactile maps were used for hearing impaired persons while guiding tiles and ramps are already there in our campus. We are going to send a checklist of all these arrangements to the government so that they can make every polling booth 100 per cent accessible for differently abled persons,” he said.