Polling booths made disabled-friendly

Most polling booths in Tiruchi city limits were well equipped with wheelchairs, ramps and Braille cards in an attempt to be disabled-friendly during the Lok Sabha elections on Thursday.

Two booths, one in Gandhi Nagar and another in Dheeran Nagar, were fully equipped to facilitate voting for the visually impaired. “The District Differently-Abled Welfare Office took special care to ensure that awareness programmes were conducted so we could get used to the voting process,” said M. Shankar, 54, a shop owner.

Further describing Braille cards, Mr. Shankar said “the booth officer showed us a card with the names of the candidates and their corresponding serial numbers. We keep the number in mind and look for that number on the EVM, which is already Braille enabled. The process is quite seamless.”

Speaking to The Hindu, R. Ravichandran, District Differently-abled Welfare Officer, said awareness programmes and preparations were made for a month before the elections. “We took note of all booths and began conducting awareness programmes in each area. As many as 1,092 wheelchairs have been deployed and volunteers to handle them too. We also went about ensuring that ramps or hand grills are set up in all booths. Volunteers trained in sign language were also placed on standby," he said.

Mr. Ravichandran also added that he and his team took electronic voting machines and VVPAT machines to the visually impaired colonies in Nagamangalam and Dheeran Nagar and conducted mock polls to ensure a smooth voting process.

However, M. Kamaraj, a differently-abled activist, complained of inadequate facilities. “My booth at the police colony in Anna Nagar had no special arrangements. I had to hold the railings and climb up to enter it. We were promised all facilities, better than the previous elections, but I found that they were worser this time. I even received calls from my friends complaining that they struggled to cast their vote,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 4:57:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/polling-booths-made-disabled-friendly/article26878127.ece

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