In the run-up to the panchayat polls being held after a gap of over a decade in Jammu and Kashmir, the Election Commission has sought to reassure voters, saying all arrangements are in place for the mega exercise to be held next month.

Over fifty lakh voters will exercise their franchise, during the three-tier poll starting April 16, said Chief Election Officer (CEO) B.R. Sharma on Tuesday.

Chairing a meeting convened here to review poll preparations, Mr. Sharma said as many as 25,19,024 people will vote in the 15959 panchayat constituencies of the Valley, while 25,49,951 will cast votes in 13760 panchayat constituencies in Jammu.

About 32,000 ballot boxes have been requisitioned for the polls, he said, as the State’s Panchayat Raj Act does not allow the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Asking the election officials to strictly enforce the model code of conduct, Mr. Sharma warned unscrupulous elements saying that anybody found flouting the code will invite action.

33 per cent of the seats are reserved for women in the polls the notification for which was issued on Monday. The entire process is due to be completed by June 30.