1,400-strong police force deployed to ensure tight security in constituency

District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareed, who is also the district election officer, has said that a 1,400-strong police force has been deployed for the maintenance of law and order in connection with the Piravom bypoll on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference to brief the media about poll preparedness, Mr. Pareed said that tight security will be maintained in the Piravom Assembly constituency under the supervision of City Police Commissioner M.R. Ajith Kumar and Superintendent of Police, Ernakulam Rural, K.P. Philip, till the conclusion of counting of votes.

Special police pickets had been set up at Irumpanam within the limits of the City Police. Three Deputy Superintendents of Police will lead the security arrangements in the constituency. The police force will be further represented by 127 circle inspectors, 158 sub-inspectors, and 934 civil police officers. Besides, members of Home Guard, Forest, Excise, vigilance, crime branch, marine and railway police will also be on duty.

Special security arrangements, including additional police force, would be made for sensitive polling booths and would be under video surveillance from the eve of polling. Fourteen such booths had been chosen for webcasting of polling as directed by the Election Commission. A communication plan covering all booths had been prepared while the Collector, Police Commissioner, and the SP had visited and reviewed the security arrangements in all sensitive and vulnerable booths. Sectoral maps, sketch of polling stations, and strong room layout also had been prepared for the smooth conduct of the election.

Mr. Pareed said that the polling percentage will be updated every hour and made available on the site (www.ceo.kerala.gov.in). The run-up to the polling will start with the distribution of electronic voting machines (EVMs) to polling officials from the distribution centre at the Nirmala Junior School auditorium at Muvattupuzha on Friday. They will reach the polling booths by the afternoon.

Polling officials for each booth will be finalised only on Friday morning out of the list of 850 officials. Women, officials having voting right in the constituency, and teachers have been exempted from election duty. Medical facilities would be kept ready for polling officials.

EVMs numbering 185, including reserve ones, had been readied for the polling. Arrangements had been made for the prompt replacement of EVMs, if needed. A mock poll of minimum 100 votes will be held in the presence of agents of candidates at 6 a.m. on the polling day. Polling will be held between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Voters will have to produce either the voter's identity card or the voter's slip issued by the Election Commission.

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