Ladakh Voters Make Interesting Case Study For Discovery Channel

29 April 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: The voters in Ladakh- a landlocked region in the northernmost part of India, have become interesting case study for the Discovery Channel, which is preparing a documentary on the ongoing battle of ballots in the largest democracy of the world. This region, which remains cut-off from rest of the world for more than six months during winters, has been selected by the world famous channel because of the fact that the people of this most inaccessible part of North India are more aware of their democratic rights as compared to other parts of the country and do not allow numerous difficulties owing to rugged terrain to prevent them from exercising their democratic right. Through the documentary, the Discovery Channel also wants to portray how the Election Commission of India-a constitutional body vested with the powers to conduct elections to the Parliament and Legislature of every State, makes casting of votes even at a height of 15000 feet from the sea level a much comfortable and easier exercise for the voters. Though many areas of the country have become part of this documentary, Ladakh would be the most interesting aspect because of numerous extraordinary facts vis-à-vis elections. It is said that such a documentary on the battle of ballots in largest democracy of the world is being prepared for the first time. The Discovery Channel has outsourced this task to Robin Roy Films, which is one of the India's leading production house, and handles projects of different natures, and its crew will reach Leh on May1 for seven day long shooting. The crew will visit those areas, which can be reached by way of trekking and those polling stations, which are situated in very remote and farthest corners of the district. Talking to EXCELSIOR on telephone, Robin Roy, Director and Producer of documentary said, 'Ladakh is going to be an interesting aspect for the documentary. We want to portray how the people of most difficult region overcome all the difficulties to participate in the democratic exercise', adding 'the documentary will highlight how the Election Commission of India delivers such a big event in order to ensure participation of each and every voter'. In response to a question, Mr Roy said, 'every area, which has become part of the documentary, has its own uniqueness and from the difficult terrain and poor accessibility point of view Ladakh would be the most interesting facet'. The selection of Ladakh as one of the locations for the documentary on elections assumes importance because of the fact that in Leh district 80,000 voters will exercise their franchise in 274 polling stations spread over an area of 45,000 square kilometer. According to the information available with the office of Chief Electoral Officer, for five polling stations namely-Lingshed, Neraks, Fotoksar, Yulchurg and Squmpata having on an average 90 voters, the polling staff and material would be lifted through air sorties and these polling stations may become attraction for the crew preparing documentary. There are 11 polling stations along the China border in Nyoma and Durbok areas with prominent among them being Demchok, Chumur and Chushul. Chumur is the highest altitude polling station situated at 15000 feet from the sea level. Similarly, there are 20 polling stations along the Pakistan border, which include Turtuk, Dah, Hanu etc. The minimum number of voters in a polling station in the district is 12 while as maximum is 1000. For the smooth conduct of elections, 1200 polling personnel, 30 micro observers and 60 Magistrates would be deployed in the district.