Shimla: The Election Commission has requested Border Road Organisation (BRO) to initiate the process for allowing short term usage of the 8.8 kilometres Rohtang tunnel for facilitating the transportation of men and machinery and election related material.

Chief Electoral Officer Devesh Kumar said that “allowing short term use of the tunnel will particularly facilitate the polling personnel on duty.”

The BRO is gearing up to begin snow-clearance operation on the Manali-Leh highway and has assured to try getting it through by mid April before the elections to connect 13,050 feet high Rohtang Pass.

Simultaneously, in a meeting to review the election preparedness, chaired by Chief Secretary BK Agarwal, instructions were given to upkeep the rural roads and maintain paths connecting the polling booths. Directions were also issued to keep manpower and machinery ready for clearance of roads in view of landslides.

The provision of air ambulance for airlifting of security and polling personnel was also discussed for providing immediate evacuation and medical-care for those on election duty. The General Administrative Department was entrusted the job of providing state chopper with medical and rescue teams in case of emergency, if any.

Besides, the Chief Secretary issued instructions for intensifying the vigil adjoining border areas for effective monitoring and checking of flow of illicit liquor, cash, illegal arms and drugs. Directions were issued to police department to install CCTV cameras at sensitive locations within much delay. Stress was laid upon more inter-state coordination among excise commissioners of bordering states.

Instructions were issued to the education department to provide additional manpower during the polls and maintenance of polling stations as maximum are housed in educational institutions.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.