Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The State Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements and prepared a plan for the conduct of by-elections to 67 corporation wards in Chennai on February 18.

State Election Commissioner D. Chandrasekaran told reporters here on Thursday that 10 election observers, in-charge of 10 zones, would coordinate with deputy commissioners and assistant returning officers.

The Commission had identified 674 booths as `sensitive' and 109 as `supersensitive.' Additional police force would be deployed here.

Preventive arrests

About 20,000 police personnel would be on duty. Around 500 more plainclothes would be moving around on polling day. Already 300 preventive arrests had been made.

The Commission had decided to videograph the election process and nobody, barring police personnel and voters, would be allowed within a 100-metre radius of the booths. Mobile police squads would be on the ready.

Mr. Chandrasekaran said he had asked the Corporation Commissioner to give wide publicity to steps taken by the Commission and the Corporation for a peaceful polling.

Assurance to voters

He assured voters that they could cast their ballot without fear.

Earlier, Mr. Chandrasekaran held discussions with observers, the Commissioner of Police and other officials regarding arrangements being made for the polling.