Model polling station for Bengal’s leprosy colony inmates

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Kolkata, March 11 (IANS) As many as 320 voters of a leprosy colony in West Bengal’s Bankura district will have access to upgraded facilities like battery-operated cars in the upcoming assembly polls, courtesy a model polling station exclusively meant for the inmates.

There are at least four settlements for leprosy afflicted-physically challenged people in the district. The Gouripur Leprosy Hospital in the Kalyanpur settlement (around 200 families) is one of India’s oldest leprosy hospitals, an official said.

“This time, the polling station in Gouripur has been designated as a model one for the registered 320 voters. Apart from ensuring basic minimum facilities, their will be additional arrangements like provision of wheelchairs and battery-operated cars (totos) among others. This polling station is solely for the colony residents,” an official of the district administration told IANS.

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According to Dibyendu Sarkar, additional chief electoral officer of the Election Commission here, the Central Election Commission is keen to ensure a smooth voting process for the colony residents.

“Usually, the doctors and staff of the leprosy hospital contribute in the arrangements for the polling station. Since people who have not dealt with leprosy patients may have some inhibitions, the physicians themselves participate in the election process during the polling day.

“They are familiar with the patients and it helps to ease the process,” the district official said, adding the voter turnout is 85 percent in the district.

Bengal goes to the hustings on April 4. Bankura is included in the first phase.

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