1,500 jawans climb 11,000 ft to protect voters in Ladakh
Srinagar: Surrounded by high mountains and deep gorges, snow-bound Zanskar, in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, is all ready to vote.
Paramilitary police wait as election workers (unseen) receive polling materials, including Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), at a temporary election office on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections, in Leh. Pic/AFP
Poll officials and paramilitary personnel began the tough trek to some of the remote hamlets a few days ago to set up booths and ensure all arrangements are in place for Wednesday’s Lok Sabha election.
Around 1,500 paramilitary personnel have, over the week-end, climbed up to Zanskar, some 10,000-11,000 feet above sea level where the air is thin and breathing a challenge.
The Ladakh parliamentary constituency has four assembly segments Kargil, Zanskar, Leh and Nubra with around 159,000 voters. Election officials began their preparations for the arduous trek to some of the polling stations in Zanskar region much earlier, on April 28.
Paramilitary personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been deployed in Leh on election duty.
“The police personnel were airlifted in Indian Air Force choppers to the Udhampur air base from Chandigarh,” said Leh’s Deputy Commissioner Simrandeep Singh. The polling parties were airlifted to Kargil on April 28.
Among the polling stations at very high altitudes are Lingshed, Dipling, Skumpata, Youlchung, Neraks. Other high-altitude polling stations in Ladakh are Markha, Rumbak, Sriyul, Chilling, Kaya, the Nubra Valley, and Skumankha.
“The polling teams and police would be required to trek around 35 km to reach some of the polling stations,” said Leh’s Deputy Commissioner Simrandeep Singh.