SHILLONG, Aug 10: Runners will bridge poor connectivity in some areas of Ranikor constituency under South West Khasi Hills District as they will be engaged by the State Election department to act as messengers between polling stations during the upcoming by elections in the constituency.
“We have arranged runners who will be connecting between the polling party and the sector officer for transmitting of messages and urgent updates,” the state’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Frederick Roy Kharkongor informed here on Friday.
He said there are five polling stations where officials would have to walk from half an hour to about 3 hours. According to him, a pool of 10-15 runners will be kept depending on the requirement.
The five non-motorable polling stations include Amarsang (walking distance is 3 hours), Nongmalang (walking distance 2 hours), Pormawdar (1 hour), Mawlongbah (30 minutes) and Myriaw (15 minutes).
Stating that the district machinery is geared up for holding the election, the CEO, who recently conducted a field visit to the district said, “We were of the view that the preparation are on the right track.”
Also informing that the Ranikor constituency has been divided into 10 zones and 25 sectors, he said that special steps have been taken especially on how to tackle the challenges of terrain and connectivity.
“While one sector officer will look exclusively for one remote polling station, we have also instructed the police to equip the sector officer and zonal magistrates with special handsets so that in those areas where mobile connectivity is not there, messages can be transmitted because Ranikor is an area where connectivity is very poor,” he said.
Kharkongor further informed that one extra EVM will also be provided to all sector officers in remote polling stations so that in case of any malfunction, they do not need to go right up to the district headquarter.
Ranikor constituency has 65 polling stations with a total of 29,685 eligible voters including 15183 males and 14487 females. Out of these, the largest polling station is Rangthong with 817 while smallest is Nongbahjynrin-Mawthabah with only 12 voters.
Kharkongor also said that there will also be web casting in polling stations where there is connectivity adding that physical condition of polling stations are very good as they are all in good schools.
Another interesting step taken is the rock graffiti to spread awareness to voters of the constituency.
On the other hand with regards to the by election in South-Tura constituency, Kharkongor said they do not foresee any problem because it is an urban constituency.
“We do not foresee problem as it is not so challenging like Ranikor which have huge problem connectivity,” he said while informing that he would also make a field visit to West Garo Hills District shortly after August 15.
South Tura constituency has a total of 30,231 voters including 14,846 males and 15,351 females, 33 service voters and one NRI in 36 polling stations. While the largest polling station is Matchakolgre with 1337 voters, the smallest is Leper Colony with 151 voters.
Speaking about the security aspect, Kharkongor said that four companies each have been sanctioned for the two constituencies to ensure free and fair holding of the by elections.
“I think it is quite good and very well provided for. The SPs have also expressed that they are very comfortable with the number of forces that have been given and they have also taken adequate steps on the law and order measures,” he said.
The two seats fell vacant after Ranikor MLA Martin M Danggo and South-Tura MLA Agatha K Sangma resigned as members of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on June 21 and July 2 respectively.