Amidst phase-1 of DDC polls in JK, Covid-19 SOPs brazenly violated

Aatif Qayoom

Srinagar, Nov 28: Amidst first phase of DDC polls across Jammu and Kashmir, the SOPs related to keep away the Covid-19 pandemic away, was brazenly violated by the electorates as nowhere authorities had put indispensable arrangements in place.

The first phase of DDC elections and Panchayat bypolls were held in Jammu and Kashmir wherein more than seven lakh voters were eligible to decide the fate of 1427 candidates.

However as soon as the exercise started across the polling stations of Jammu and Kashmir, electorates were seen in long queues who were waiting for their turn. The most important thing amidst outbreak of Covid-19 was interesting that got the attention of print and electronic media which witnessed no SOPs related to keep away the Covid-19 pandemic was followed.

Few polling stations established in parts of south Kashmir were packed up with voters, both men and women, but the SOPs meant for public health were brazenly violated.

Neither masks, nor sanitizers were seen at many polling centers where the apprehension of spread of virus was a growing concern among the visitors.

“I visited early in the morning to vote but what I observed here has hit my mind. Neither social distancing was maintained, nor sanitizers were available before entering into the booth”, a voter wishing not to be named told .

He said the UT Election Commissioner K K Sharma had promised that all arrangements in view of Covid-19 pandemic would be ensured for the safety of electorates but all has been proved hoax.

Similarly in parts of north Kashmir, the guidelines meant for keeping the virus away were also violated. In Bandipora areas where voters reached polling booths in wee hours while daring bone chilling cold, didn’t followed anti-virus SOPs.

In several parts of north Kashmir, men and women were messed up in queues while waiting of their turn to cast ballots. The claims of ensuring sound arrangement amidst Covid-19 outbreak across Jammu and Kashmir were not-existent on ground.

Meanwhile when contacted a senior health expert of valley, he said the day one of DDC polls has put forward the lacunas of administration regarding their assertions. He said if the loopholes won’t be addressed in rest of the phases, the virus will create a disastrous situation in JK.

Notably the administration had set up 2146 polling booths for first phase of DDC polls where 7 lakh voters were registered to use their right to vote. Out of 7 lakh, more than 3.72 lakhs were from Kashmir division while 3.28 lakh were from Jammu division. (KNS) 

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