Elections mean more work for this 77-year-old public sector company in Mysore, for it has the task of manufacturing indelible ink used to mark the voter’s finger.

Over 200 workers of Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd. (MPVL) have been working over the past two months to produce the ink for the Lok Sabha elections, the dates of which were announced by the Election Commission of India on Wednesday.

The State-owned company is producing indelible ink for 81 crore voters, according to MPVL Managing Director M.V. Hemanth Kumar.

MPVL is considered the only one of its kind (among the PSUs) in the country to manufacture voters’ ink. Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, the erstwhile Mysore king, had established the company in 1937.

The company has been supplying ink for elections — Lok Sabha, Assembly, and local bodies — since 1962. “We have received orders for manufacturing 21.65 lakh vials of ink for the coming elections. Already, 14 lakh vials have been supplied to 20 States, and the remaining will get their supply before March-end. Each vial contains 10 ml of ink,” Mr. Kumar said.“The production is in full swing,” he said.

Mr. Kumar said the company had supplied 19.4 lakh vials of ink for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. There is a 10 per cent increase for the elections this year, he said.

Each vial costs Rs. 142 (excluding excise duty and VAT). Each 10-ml vial can be applied on about 500 voters. It has a shelf-life of six months and it remains on the finger for about three weeks, he said. The MPVL is the sole supplier of ink for elections in the country. The indelible ink is made of a special chemical combination formulated by the National Physical Laboratory.

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