The Jammu and Kashmir election department has asked the social welfare department to procure 5,000 wheelchairs to help persons with disability to exercise their right to vote in the Lok Sabha polls.
The Election Commission (EC) has taken adequate steps to help physically challenged voters, including visually-impaired, exercise their franchise by treating them as “VIP voters”, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar told PTI.
“Persons with disability (PwDs) will now be considered as VIP voters. The social welfare department has been asked to procure 4,500 to 5,000 wheelchairs for PWD voters,” Kumar said.
“As of now, 50,000 PwD voters are registered with us, but we were expecting over 1.50 lakh such voters,” he said.
He said the district electoral officer of the respective areas will make arrangements for vehicle to transport differently abled persons.
“These steps have been taken by the Election Commission to provide new energy to PwD voters,” Kumar said.
He said every assembly constituency will have one all women polling station.
To spread electoral literacy among persons with disability, a special awareness programme on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine has been undertaken in various places, including the district child protection units.
The campaign is aimed at sensitizing voters regarding voting process and casting ethical vote, the official said, adding various initiatives have been taken by the EC to make elections accessible to voters by ensuring Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) – facility of ramp, shade, drinking water and wheelchairs etc at the polling stations.