Shimla: Sixty companies of central paramilitary forces, including ITBP and CRPF, will be deployed in Himachal Pradesh to ensure free and fair elections at 7,253 polling booths on November 4. 25 companies of ITBP, 15 companies of SSB, 10 of CRPF and 10 companies of BSF would be deployed at the polling booths the state for 46,08,359 electors including 45,33,713 general electors and 74,646 service electors.
All 68 constituencies, including three tribal, would go to polls in a single phase and the ballot boxes would be kept under security for about seven weeks till the day of counting which would take place on December 20. Helicopters would be pressed into service for air-lifting Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), polling personnel and polling materials before and after the poll in the far-flung and snow-bound areas of the state.
Chief Secretary S Roy, who reviewed the arrangements at a high-level meeting, said that 1,365 HRTC buses would be deployed during elections and PWD and Transport authorities have been directed to ensure uninterrupted vehicular traffic to facilitate polling parties to reach their destinations on time.
The sale of liquor has been banned for 48 hours and dry days have been declared from 5.00 AM on November 2 to 5.00 PM on November 4 by the Excise and Taxation Commissioner and various departments including Home, PWD, GAD, Personnel, Education, Police, Civil Defence and Home Guard, Excise and Taxation, HRTC, MPP and Power have been directed to make arrangements.
Chief Secretary said that polling party along with polling materials and EVMs would be airlifted to a land-locked "Bara Bhangal" hamlet of Baijnath assembly constituency at an altitude of 9,000 feet on November 2 and from Bara-Bangal to Baijnath on November 4 for to enable 45 electors, including 26 male and 19 female electors to exercise their franchise.
Similarly, helicopter services would be provided in tribal areas from Pangi to Kullu, Keylong to Kullu and Kaza to Kullu on November 5. There are 32 polling stations in tribal Bharmaur (ST) constituency in Pangi while Lahaul and Spiti tribal constituency has 89 polling stations, including 21 stations in Spiti.
Roy said that Police Control Room had been set up at the police headquarter for monitoring different election related activities and sending daily reports as required. He said that 140 identified Naka points were set up to check the illegal liquor and other illegal material besides 90 flying squads were also monitoring the illegal carrying of cash or liquor or any other suspicious items.