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Goa ramps up poll infra, 8 booths to be managed by people with disabilities | India News – Times of India


PANAJI: Goa is all set to make the upcoming assembly elections accessible to the elderly and persons with disabilities. Permanent ramps with hand rails, wheelchairs, accessible toilets, Braille ballot guides and tactile flooring have been put in place to make polling stations disabled-friendly.
Vishant S Nagvekar, who is on the North Goa district advisory board, said, “I proposed that instead of spending money every election to fit and remove wooden ramps, permanent ones be fitted that can be used through the rest of the year by the people. This has been done at some polling stations.” This election, eight polling booths will be handled almost entirely by persons with disabilities – five in North Goa and three in South Goa – nodal officer for accessible elections Sudesh Gaude, told TOI.
For the very first time, some of these centres – like the two at Goa College of Pharmacy – have had their old toilets modified, and others – like the centres at the Mapusa ADEI and the government primary school at Karaswada – had new ones built outside the building complete with a ramp, wide doors for a wheelchair to enter, spacious interiors for a wheelchair to turn, grab-bars, western toilets, and most importantly, flowing water, Nagvekar said.
Several people with benchmark disabilities and those in the 80+ age group benefited from the opportunity to vote from the comfort of their own homes for the very first time over the past week. Akshay Mohandas Bhangle from Sanquelim, who is 100% visually impaired, said if it weren’t for Covid, he would have confidently gone to the polling station like he did in 2017. “During the pandemic, it was safer for me to vote via postal ballot from home,” he said.





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