Karnataka Assembly elections 2023 | Inking a pact with democracy

The Mysore Paints & Varnish Ltd. gears up to produce the indelible ink used in polls, as Karnataka head to Assembly election in May

April 13, 2023 09:09 pm | Updated April 14, 2023 12:34 pm IST - Mysuru

Workers manufacturing the ink in Mysore Paints & Varnish Ltd. in Mysuru

Workers manufacturing the ink in Mysore Paints & Varnish Ltd. in Mysuru | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Every single election in India has a link with Mysuru, the city of palaces in Karnataka. Mysore Paints & Varnish Ltd. is the only company authorised to produce the indelible ink used in general elections in the country.

It was back in 1937 that the Maharaja of Mysore Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar established the factory – Mysore Lac & Paint Works Ltd – to provide employment for people and for utilisation of natural resources from the forests nearby. It manufactured lac used for manufacture of sealing waxes. Besides, paints were manufactured and supplied to government Departments including the Defence Department, particularly for war tanks.

The unit was converted into a public limited company in 1947, as one of the important public sector companies of Karnataka.

A vial of the indelible ink

A vial of the indelible ink

In 1962, it was selected to manufacture the indelible ink, which was first used in the country’s third general election. From then till now, the company has supplied the ink for every Parliamentary, Assembly and local body election across India. It has also exported the ink to more than 30 countries. Nearly a hundred workers in the company get busy when its main customer, the Election Commission of India, places orders during polls.

The ink is made of special chemicals formulated in a laboratory and the entire process of its mixing, bottling, sealing, packing and transportation is carried out in a well-secured area. Each vial containing 10 ml of ink would suffice for the fingers of 700 voters; it dries in 40 seconds and lasts for several days.

The unit in Mysuru is busy again now, this time as Karnataka heads to Assembly elections on May 10.

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