Distribution of EVMs to be completed by Friday
With just a week to go for the April 10 elections, the official poll machinery in the district is in top gear.
The distribution of electronic voting machines (EVMs) to the two parliamentary constituencies in the district began here on Thursday. According to district election officials, around 5,000 EVMs were being distributed, with the process to be completed by evening on Friday. District Collector and Election Officer Biju Prabhakar said the commissioning of the EVMs would be done in the presence of the candidates or their representatives at 12 centres on April 5.
There were 2,178 polling stations in the district to which these machines were being sent. Randomisation of the machines had been done already, with 4,780 ballot units and 2,390 control units being distributed from the Government Music College, Thycaud, to assistant returning officers in charge of the 14 Assembly constituencies in the district.
The photo electoral slips, which were being introduced in the country with this election, too were being despatched by booth-level officers to all voters. The process was expected to be completed by April 8, Mr. Prabhakar said.
The security arrangements, too, were in the final phase, with the 330 booths that were termed sensitive further being examined and 54 locations being classified as ‘hyper-sensitive’. Of these, 27 were in the city limits and 27, in the rural area. These booths, apart from having webcasting of the proceedings, would have micro-observers, 60 of whom had been enlisted, and four personnel from the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
There would also be a team capturing the entire process on video at these locations.
As for the posting of polling officials, the list was being finalised. The glitches that had crept into the list was being smoothened out. According to an election official, there would be around 13,000 polling officials in the district. Several teachers who were assigned the duty had cited difficulties including the clash of poll and answer-paper evaluation duties around the election date. The Exemption Committee was addressing these complaints, and the list, which would include a reserve of officials, would be ready in a couple of days.
Mr. Prabhakar on Thursday flagged off a mobile exhibition, part of the Election Commission’s Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme. The exhibition, which travelled through Varkala, Attingal, and Chirayinkeezhu on Thursday, explaining the operation of EVMs, will be on the move till April 9.Vigil stepped up
The Excise Department has stepped up its vigil in view of the possibility of a proliferation of Abkari and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) offences ahead of the election.
The public could pass on information in case of any instances in violation of the Abkari or NDPS Act by dialling the district Excise Control Room on 0471-2473149 while the Excise Special Squad, Thiruvananthapuram, could be contacted at 0471-2312418.
The Deputy Excise Commissioner, Thiruvananthapuram, would be available on 94471-78053 while the Assistant Excise Commissioner could be contacted on 94960-02861. The Excise Circle Inspector at the Amaravila Checkpost could be contacted on 0471-2221776 and 94000-69411.