J&K: Contingency plan at Poonch in place in anticipation of shelling across LoC on polling day

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Poonch (Jammu and Kashmir): Authorities in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir, which lies close to the Line of Control (LoC), have prepared a contingency plan to shift polling officials and voters in the event cross-border firing on the polling day.

The Poonch district, which comes within the ambit of the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency, is scheduled to vote in the penultimate phase of the ongoing general elections, on May 25.

“There are a total of 474 polling stations in the district. Poonch comprises three assembly segments–Mendhar, Haveli and Surankote. Of the total polling stations, 54 are in long-arm shelling range, that is, 0-5 kilometres from the actual Line of Control. Over two dozen odd are in the short-arm range, 0-1 km and 12 which are across the fence,” Poonch District Election Officer Yasin Choudhary on Saturday.

“We have prepared a contingency plan for these polling stations, which is a standard practice during general elections. In districts located on the LoC, there remains a possibility of cross-border shelling and retaliatory fire,” he added.

Sharing further details of the contingency plan, the poll official said, “The SOP requires us that all polling stations in that range and all the bunkers which are close by be tagged. This would enable the polling staff, security personnel and voters, gathered at the polling stations, to take refuge in the event of shelling from across the LoC,” Choudhary said.

“We have designated an alternate polling station in anticipation of continued shelling. We have made provisions for movable bunkers as well,” he added. The Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir are being held in five phases.
The UT has a total of 5 Lok Sabha seats, including Baramulla, Srinagar, Anantnag-Rajouri, Udhampur and Jammu.
The counting of votes for all phases in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere across the country has been scheduled for June 4.

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