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Updated: April 22, 2014 12:40 IST

Storage of EVMs takes up college space for conducting exams

Hiran Unnikrishnan
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An armed policeman guarding the strong room in which electronic voting machines are kept after the elections, at the Maharaja’s College in the city. File Photo
The Hindu
An armed policeman guarding the strong room in which electronic voting machines are kept after the elections, at the Maharaja’s College in the city. File Photo

Security curbs affect functioning of Maharaja’s College

With the sealed electronic voting machines and its security occupying a major portion of the buildings on its campus, the Maharaja’s College is straining to find adequate space for conducting the university examinations beginning next month.

According to the college authorities, the decision to choose the college as the sole venue for counting the votes polled in Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency, has severely hit the college’s functioning after April 10, the date of polling. “The staff and students have lost access to at least four academic sections due to the security arrangements while the remaining space is sufficient for accommodating only half of the 650 students appearing for the exams,” said Ajitha Devi, the college Principal.

The presence of EVMs has also stalled the construction of a new classroom building by the Public Works Department in the college campus. “The entry of construction materials through the main gate has been blocked due to security reasons, while the entry at its back-side remains closed for maintenance purposes,” the principal said.

Running against time, the college authority is set to approach the district administration requesting some relaxations in the security apparatus to free more classrooms for conducting exams. “The issue had already been raised with the varsity authorities but to no avail. Now we expect the District Collector, who is the Returning Officer of the constituency, to act on this,” she said.

This is for the first time that the college has been chosen as the sole venue for the counting of votes polled in all the seven Assembly segments under the Ernakulam Parliamentary constituency. Strong rooms have been set up on the campus along with counting centres for the safe-keeping of EVMs moved here on polling day.

Problems discounted

Meanwhile, the management of the Bharata Mata College in Thrikkakara, one of the two counting centres for the Chalakkudy constituency, said that the security arrangements did not pose much of a problem to its preparations for the examination. “As many as 700 students are set to appear for semester examinations at a given point of time and we had to make some special arrangements in view of the security measures and the resultant shortage in space,” said Joy Joseph Puthussery, the college Principal.

However, officials with the district administration said the lack of classrooms at Maharaja’s College was yet to come to their notice. “These centres were fixed as the counting venues after due consultations with the college authorities and taking into consideration their space requirements till the day of vote counting,” said S. Shanavas, Deputy Collector.

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