Lack of roads, communication pose challenge to safety of ballot boxes in Jumla
November 29, 2017 03:30 AM NPT
By: DB Buda
JUMLA, Nov 29: Even though the Ministry of Home Affairs had marked Jumla as a highly sensitive area in terms of security for the parliamentary and provincial polls, Sunday's election in the district was largely peaceful and systematic. However, the safety of ballot boxes for the next ten days has become a new challenge for authorities of the district.
Lack of road connectivity, difficult land topography and no access to telephone and electricity have raised a lot of concerns for the security of the ballot boxes. Not just that, the district has high presence of anti-election forces which has added pressure on the security personnel and election officials entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the ballot boxes. Surprisingly, no disruptive activities were reported during the polls held on Sunday.
After the completion of the first phase of elections, as many as 270 ballot boxes were brought to the district headquarters Khalanga. As of now, representatives and candidates of various political parties are taking care of the ballot boxes with the help of security personnel. Ballot boxes have been kept safely in the newly-built office of the District Attorney, Jumla. Political parties and District Security Committee (DSC) have been protecting the ballot boxes.
As informed by Indra Khadka, assistant election officer of Jumla, the ballot boxes have been sealed properly and are under three-tier security. He further informed that Nepal Army has been giving security in the outer circle while the Armed Police Force is deployed in the inner circle. Besides that, Nepal Police along with the representatives of political parties have been keeping vigil on the ballot boxes round the clock.
The Election Commission (EC) has announced to begin the vote counting only after concluding the second phase of elections. That means the vote counting will begin from 5 pm on December 7. Despite high security, the safety of ballot boxes has worried the candidates as well as locals. A recent meeting of the security committee of the district held under the chairmanship of the Chief District Officer Bishnu Poudel has made a decision to tighten the security even more.
On the other hand, political parties have assigned various cadres to ensure security of the ballot boxes by staying awake all night. Purna Prasad Dhital, district coordinator of the publicity committee of the left alliance informed that he himself will be staying outside the District Election Office at night to ensure the security of the ballot boxes. According to him, he other cadres of the alliance will continue doing so until December 10.