The district administration, which ensured incident-free polling on April 13, has made all arrangements for smooth and transparent counting of votes to be done in three counting centres in the district on Friday.
“All arrangements for the counting of votes polled in the Assembly election have been completed at all three counting centres – Government College of Engineering, Tirunelveli, Sri Parasakthi College, Courtallam and Veerasamy Chettiar Engineering College,” District Collector M. Jayaraman told reporters here on Wednesday evening after inspecting the arrangements along with the Election Observers.
After the counting of ballot votes is started at 8 a.m. sharp, the electronic voting machines from the strong rooms, each to be manned to two tahsildars, will be brought at 8.30 a.m. to the counting hall where 14 tables have been put. While each table will be manned by a supervisor, an assistant and a micro observer, the entire proceedings inside the counting hall will be monitored by the Returning Officer and the Election Observer concerned. The candidates' agents, who are not supposed to carry any stationary articles such as scribbling pad, fountain pen etc., communication devices, sharp objects etc. with them, can stand on the other side of the metal wired enclosure to observe the counting of votes.
While 18 cameras – one camera to cover the shifting of EVM from strong room to counting hall, one camera for each counting table (14 tables), one camera for postal ballots counting, one camera for Returning Officer and the Election Observer and the remaining one to cover the entire proceedings inside the hall – will be used to ensure transparency at every level. After the consent of the Returning Officer, the Election Observer and finally the Election Commission is obtained, the result of every round will be announced and the total number of votes polled for each candidate at the end of every round will be pasted on a flex banner put up in the hall itself.
Moreover, the results of every round will be announced through the public address systems also set up on the southern and northern boundaries of the counting centre.
Three-tier security arrangement – frisking at main entrance of the counting centre, entrance of the buildings and entrance of the counting halls – will be in place. Candidates and their agents should deposit their mobile phones to the Block Development Officers manning a hall adjacent to the counting halls. After using the cell phones, it should be handed over back to the BDOs every time. It will be returned only when they leave the counting centre premises.
Persons holding the passes issued by the Election Commission of India alone will be allowed to go beyond the barricade put up near Ruchi Hotel.
There will be no vehicular traffic between Ruchi Hotel near Government College of Engineering and Transfiguration Church intersection (the erstwhile check-post at Tuckerammalpuram). Hence, vehicles coming from Nagercoil to Tirunelveli and vice-versa should take the Shandai Road via Corporation Modern Slaughter House to reach Melapalayam from where they can reach the new bus-stand via Reliance Petrol Bunk junction.
While the micro observers will be taken to their respective counting centres in the buses which will leave the Collectorate premises at 4.30 a.m., the counting supervisors and the assistants can use their official vehicles to reach their designated destinations before 6 a.m. and subsequently breakfast will be served to them at around 6.30 a.m. They should be in the hall at 7 a.m. sharp.
When the reporters appealed to Dr. Jayaraman to allow the reporters to carry their laptops along with them to the media room, he assured that he would take up the matter with the Chief Electoral Officer.
Commissioner of Police, Tirunelveli City, V. Varadharaju said around 450 policemen, including 78 paramilitary force personnel have been deployed on the Government College of Engineering premises.
Apart from the Election Observers, Commissioner of Tirunelveli Corporation and Returning Officer, Palayamkottai segment N. Subbaiyan were present.