Collector P. Seetharaman handed over the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards provided by the Election Commission to a total of 242 polling officials in the district on Wednesday.

The SIM cards, obtained from the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., would be used by District Election Officer, Election Observers, Returning Officers, Assistant Returning Officers, Zonal Officers, Vigilance Monitoring Committee members, Model Code of Conduct Committee members and flying squad for communicating exclusively poll-related issues.

Mr. Seetharaman said that the polling officials could also send Short Messaging Services (SMS) about poll-related issues to higher officials. The handsets would be so programmed that the officials need not key in every message but just by pressing the relevant numbers they could create the SMS to the effect that “polling materials reached, polling started, materials collected, poll peaceful, disturbance in the polling station” and so on.

Instant communication could be established for real-time monitoring of polling situations and initiating appropriate action, wherever warranted, without any loss of time.

The Collector further said that on his request, Vice-Chancellor of Annamalai University M. Ramanathan and Registrar M. Rathinasabapathi had agreed to depute over 100 students in the M.C.A., and M.B.A, courses, for handling the web-camera fixed laptops in the polling stations.

Mr. Seetharaman said that at present, there were 1,945 polling stations spread across nine Assembly segments in the district. The rural polling stations having over 1,200 voters and urban stations having more than 1,400 voters were now under scrutiny for bifurcation.

Meanwhile, 180 nodal officers had been assigned the task of inspecting the polling stations within the jurisdiction to ensure that all doors and windows were in place and ramp set up for the convenience of the differently abled and elderly voters.

The Collector categorically said that all basic amenities would be provided at the polling stations within a week. Arrangements were also being made for the accommodation of Election Observers at Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Neyveli, Vriddhachalam and Pennadam.

Their staying places would be equipped with computers, television sets and telephones, the Collector added.