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Assam: Tuskers assigned election duty
April 01, 2006 02:16 IST
Strict surveillance by Election Commission may have taken away the usual fanfare from the coming Assam assembly election but voters will not be deprived of majestic elephants, huge country boats and bullock carts, which would be used during the hustings.
In the heart of the state, which also comprises the capital constituency within Kamrup district, as many as seven tuskers will be used to carry polling personnel and poll materials to hilly and inaccessible areas.
According to Kamrup district (rural) Deputy Commissioner Ganesh Kalita, three tuskers would be used to carry poll materials to a remote polling station along the Assam-Meghalaya border, which can be only reached by foot. Nearly 50 porters would be following the pachyderms during their march carrying essentials for the polling personnel in the remote areas, he added.
Similarly, Kamrup (metro) Deputy Commissioner Avinash Joshi said four elephants would be used in the district to carry polling personnel.
Fourteen motorboats, 19 country boats and 40 bullock carts would also be used to reach the polling materials. In Kamrup (metro) area, one mechanised boat has been requisitioned to travel through the Brahmaputra and carry poll materials, Joshi said.
The deputy commissioners said among the 1500 polling stations, nearly eight were inaccessible for which country boats, bullock carts and elephants would be used. "Sometimes the polling personnel feel secure with the pachyderms around because they are well trained and sincere," says Uddab Das, a school teacher who has done poll duty in the inaccessible areas.
"They (the elephants) perform their work with diligence and never complain. During my experience with them sometimes I found them working without any food for two or three days," Das says but regrets that this time he might not get a chance to serve in the remote booths.
Apart from these unconventional modes of transport, the Kamrup district administration would press into service 45 big buses, more than 200 mini buses, 80 trekkers, 20 light motor vehicles and two recovery vans for polling.