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All set for first phase of local body polls

Staff Reporter
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Tight security at 15 polling stations identified as sensitive

Gearing up: Workers preparing to transport electronic voting machines to polling booths in Erode district on Sunday. — Photo: M. Govarthan
Gearing up: Workers preparing to transport electronic voting machines to polling booths in Erode district on Sunday. — Photo: M. Govarthan

The stage is all set for the first phase of local body elections scheduled on Monday in Erode district.

A total of seven panchayat unions, 24 town panchayats, Gobichettipalayam Municipality and Erode Corporation go to polls in the first phase. The administration will use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the town panchayats, Gobichettipalayam Municipality and Erode Corporation.

More than 8,500 officials have been engaged in poll duty and over 2,600 police personnel deployed to provide security to voters. Besides, the administration has involved 650 National Service Scheme volunteers and NCC cadets for providing security and assistance to the voters.

Officials said that the transportation of EVMs, ballot boxes, ballot papers and other poll materials to the booths was completed. Booth slips were also issued to over 98 per cent of the voters in the district. Arrangements were made at the polling stations to issue booth slips to those who did not receive the same.

The administration has arranged transportation facilities for voters living in the villages coming under Thalavadi block, Kundri, Kuthiyalathur and Kothampalayam village coming under the Sathyamangalam block and a number of villages in Burgur hills. The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation will operate special buses for the villagers to travel to the polling booths. The police have identified 15 polling stations in the district as sensitive and tightened the security measures in them. The entire polling process in these booths will be video-graphed.

Steps have also been taken to intensify patrolling in the local bodies going to polls on Monday. Teams have been formed to conduct vehicle checks to prevent political parties and candidates from indulging in the cash-for-vote practice and distributing gifts to the voters.

The police officials said that stern action would be initiated against those found distributing cash or gifts to the voters.

Collector V.K. Shanmugam also instructed the micro-observers to closely monitor the polling process and report the election observer immediately if violations were found in the district.

A control room is established to receive complaints from the public. They can dial 1077 to contact the officials in the control room and register their complaints.

The administration has established 31 counting centres with strong rooms to safely keep the EVMs and ballot boxes after the polls.

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