Madurai

Collectors win EC’s awards

The steps taken by Collector V. Vishnu ahead of the Assembly polls held this year to ensure free and fair elections and increase voter turnout won the Election Commission of India’s laurels as his initiatives were approved as ‘Best Electoral Practices’.

Of the 23 awards announced by the Election Commission of India, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts have bagged 3 awards which go to Mr. Vishnu, Thoothukudi Collector K. Senthil Raj and the then Returning Officer of Ambasamudram Assembly segment Pratik Tayal.

While Mr. Vishnu has won the award for his Information Technology initiatives employed during Assembly polls, Dr. Senthil Raj, a physician and alumni of Tirunelveli Medical College, has been awarded for his tireless election awareness programmes. Mr. Pratik Tayal has won the award for Election Management (Rationalization of polling materials).

The winners will receive the awards during the Voters’ Awareness Day celebrations to be held in New Delhi on Tuesday (January 25).

Mr. Vishnu, a risk analyst trained in the US, prepared a GIS-based mobile app, which came in handy for the voters to locate their polling booths. At the same time, this app helped the polling personnel a lot in monitoring real-time polling and law and order situation prevailing in and around all 1,924 polling station since Tirunelveli is a highly volatile district wherein situation might go out of control within a few minutes, especially during elections.

With the help of the National Informatics Centre, Mr. Vishnu, an alumni of National Institute of Technology, Tiruchi, prepared this GIS-based app, christened ‘Vaakuchaavadi Vazhikaatti’ (polling booth guide), which guided with ease the voters to their polling booths from their residences. Moreover, the app gave 360 degree visuals of each polling booth through webcasting till the end of the polling process. Hence, everyone – right from the voter to the top brass of the Election Commission of India – could see what is happening in every polling booth in Tirunelveli district during the last Assembly elections.

Mr. Vishnu also constituted committees to monitor electioneering, hate speech, if any, during canvassing of votes, distribution of cash or gift to the voters to lure them, campaigning through social media platforms etc. which played effective role in preventing poll code violations.

Even before the Assembly poll was notified, Mr. Vishnu launched voter awareness programmes – mostly cultural events and screening of documentaries – to appeal to the electorate to come to the booth without fail to exercise their franchise on the day of polling.

Dr. Senthil Raj has won the ECI’s award for organising traditional voter awareness cultural events in every nook and corner of the district to encouraging the children to write letters to their parents and grandparents appealing to them to cast their voters without any inducement on the day of polling.


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Printable version | May 14, 2022 3:37:03 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/collectors-win-ecs-awards/article38318887.ece