POKHARA/GORKHA, May 12 It will take about two days to collect ballot boxes in some of the rural municipalities of remote Gorkha, say the election officers of the district.
According to the election officers, it will be quite challenging for them to collect the ballot boxes from the villages which are not linked with roads. It took about three to four days for the election officers to reach 31 polling stations of Chumanubri and Dharche rural municipalities along with the ballot boxes. Election officers have also informed that the vote counting will be delayed in some rural municipalities due to late collection of the ballot boxes.
"It takes about three days on foot to reach some polling centers of rural municipalities," said Chief District Officer (CDO) Jitendra Basnet, adding, "We had demanded for helicopters with the Regional Administration Office, the home ministry and even the Election Commission to ease the situation but nothing has been done yet." The polling station of Samdo Primary School of Samagaun, which is close to Tibet, is the farthest polling station.
Though election officers deployed here had started their journey on May 5, they reached the site after four days on May 9. Two of the officers had to cut short their journey as they got ill on the way.
"Forget about having proper roads, there are not even good lanes," said Basnet. Similarly, the polling station of Chekampar is equally far. Dhruba Prasad Ghimire, election officer of Manju Shree Secondary School, Kashigaun said, "It will be a real trouble for the officers to safely take the ballot boxes to the rural municipality." According to him, many voters might not participate in the elections due to the long distance they have to travel.
Speaking with journalists in Pokhara, Election Commissioner Ishwori Prasad Poudel informed that the EC is planning to send helicopters to remote Gorkha for collecting ballot boxes. "We are well aware that it is difficult to collect ballot boxes in upper Gorkha due to lack of proper transportation facility. So, we are planning to send helicopters there," he said.
On the other hand, the development of roads in the mountainous districts of Manang and Mustang has made it easier for the election officers as well as voters. Locals will have to walk for few hours but there won't be any problem in collecting ballot boxes.