DOLPA, Nov 23: Election staffers deputed to Upper Dolpa for conducting the elections to the House of Representatives and Provincial Assembly have been unable to return to the district headquarters for lack of transportation.
According to Dolpa’s Chief Election Officer Baburam Subedi, the employees deployed at 12 out of 22 polling locations in Shey Phoksundo, Chharkatangsang and Dolpo Budhha areas in the district need to be airlifted.
The stranded election staffers reached the polling stations by a helicopter in course of conducting the voting on November 20. A total of 511 employees were mobilised in Dolpa, the largest district in the country, for the election.
Although some employees have already returned back from relatively lower areas, 135 individuals including government employees, security personnel and temporary police personnel have been stranded in the highlands. Two of them are female employees. Ten election employees were carried back along with ballot boxes on Wednesday morning.
“The government is concerned about the safety and well being of the employees and there should not be any delay to evacuate them to safety,” said Subedi, adding that the chief election commissioner has been already apprised about the situation and requested to make prompt arrangements for the rescue.
Employee Kamal Bohora, who is awaiting to be rescued at the polling station based in Shahid Dashrath Chand Basic School at Kowa of Shey Phoksundo Rural Municipality-1, told the state-owned RSS that five of his colleagues have been taken ill due to the biting cold. Moreover, the team is struggling to manage food and shelter, added Bohora.
“We want to get back to Dunai, the district headquarters, as promptly as possible,” he said.
The sick employees have complained of various health issues such as headache, nausea, vomiting and breathing complications, it has been learnt.
Among the people stranded in Upper Dolpa, 43 are employees, 44 police personnel and 48 temporary police persons hired for the election.
Dolpa’s Chief District Officer Bednidhi Adhikari said 10 employees were rescued on Wednesday but the rescue effort of others was delayed as the helicopter used for the rescue operation has been sent to collect 136 ballot boxes from Humla. However, efforts are on to airlift the stranded employees as soon as possible, according to Adhikari.