NATIONAL

BEL working fast to supply EVMs to Election Commission

BANGALORE, FEB. 26. The Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) here is racing against time to supply 60,000 additional Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to the Election Commission. The Defence Sector PSU had supplied 4.47 lakh EVMs by the end of December 2003.

"First-time voters using the machine can be happy that they are helping the environment; thousands of trees would have been cut for the tonnes of ballot papers needed earlier,'' said the General Manager (Export Manufacturing) of BEL, N.N. Simha.

The control unit tabulates and stores in its memory the result at the end of polling, when it is sealed as is done with ballot boxes.

Among the details available instantly are the total votes polled and the votes polled by each candidate. Results can be declared very fast.

"Several man-hours of research went into the making of the EVMs. We can be proud that we are the first to use them. Even the United States has only automated counting of ballot papers. Some of the States in the U.S. have touch-screen kiosks for voting but not EVMs, ' Mr. Simha said.

Back in 1990, the BEL supplied 75,000 EVMs. They were unused for years till the Supreme Court validated their use in elections. "We supplied EVMs for elections in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu the last time and they were used without hitches in select constituencies. "The EVMs go through a rigorous testing process ... they have been used during summer in Rajasthan and winter in Jammu and Kashmir'' Mr. Simha said.

At the BEL plant in Jalahalli, consignments of the EVMs are getting ready for shipment. They are being packed in containers with ten each of the ballot or control units, which connected

carrying cases — the size of briefcases. The two-unit EVMs weigh little more than five kg and can be easily carried.

"Inside, they are a technical marvel. Barely 15 per cent of the components are imported. The circuitry is fitted through a high-precision automated process. The quality testing during their assembly and afterwards ensures that the EVMs are technically sound.''