Nearly 17,000 electronic voting machines meant for the 4,876 polling stations across the 15 zones of Chennai Corporation are ready for despatch.

Inspecting the work to prepare the EVMs at Vellaiyan Chettiar Higher Secondary School in Tiruvottiyur, one of the 18 distribution centres from where they would be sent, on Monday, Chennai Corporation Commissioner and District Election Officer D. Karthikeyan said adequate number of machines were available for the elections.

The civic body officials had earlier estimated a shortfall of nearly 2,000 EVMs, primarily on account of more areas being brought under the Corporation. The number of wards had increased from 155 to 200 and the zones from 10 to 15.

Additional EVMs have been sourced to tide over the shortfall, Mr. Karthikeyan said. A total of 376 zonal parties comprising polling officials and police personnel have been formed to transport the materials needed for conducting the local body election, he said.

The officials on election duty checked the EVMs and also sorted out 71 types of stationery materials in the presence of polling booth agents and candidates. The materials include indelible ink, voters' list, registers and admission slips for polling station agents.

Mr. Karthikeyan said that once the materials are readied, they would be arranged and sealed in strong rooms at the 18 distribution centres and monitored amid tight security.

Some of the distribution centres are Rani Meyammai Girls Higher Secondary School in R.A. Puram; Bhakthavatsalam Women's College in Kolathur; Government Arts College, Nandanam; Chennai Higher Secondary School, Puliyur, Kodambakkam; and Ullagaram Municipality office.

The seals of the strong rooms would be removed in the presence of the candidates on Sunday, a day before the election. The respective zonal party would transport the materials to all the polling stations in the 200 wards on the same day, he added.

Our Staff Reporter from Kancheepuram adds:

The distribution of booth slips to voters commenced in Kancheepuram district on Monday. The District Election Officer and Collector, S.Sivashanmuga Raja, launched the distribution by handing over the booth slips to residents of Valathottam near Kancheepuram and Gandhi Nagar in Kancheepuram Municipal limit.

A total of 2,816 booth level officers are involved in distribution to voters in all the 11 Assembly constituencies coming under the Kancheepuram Revenue District.

Mr.Sivashanmuga Raja said voters could contact Municipal Commissioners, Executive Officers of Town Panchayats, Tahsildars or Block Development Officers of their respective areas in case if they have not received booth slips. A 24-hour toll free helpline – 1800 425 7013 - has been set up at the District Collectorate for the residents to register complaints regarding violations or malpractices in the local body election related processes, he added.

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