Online photographing to be extended up to mid-April

GEARING: Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta chairing a review meeting with Collectors on poll arrangements in Tiruchi on Thursday. Photo: M. Moorthy.  

Special Correspondent

Review meeting with Collectors on election arrangements

TIRUCHI: The on-line photographing programme for the issue of Electors' Photo Identity Cards (EPIC), currently underway, will be extended up to mid-April to achieve maximum possible coverage, Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta has said.

The Election Commission has targeted an EPIC coverage of 95 per cent and photographing exercise was originally planned to be completed by March-end. Previously about 55 per cent of the electorate had been issued the EPIC cards. The coverage has now improved to the 61 per cent and it was expected to go up to 75 per cent by the end of March.

Initial teething troubles, such as mobilising adequate manpower and equipment, have been overcome and the online programme has gained momentum now, Mr. Gupta said, speaking to mediapersons after chairing a review meeting with Collectors of the region on the election arrangements and the EPIC photographing exercise here on Thursday.

Asked whether the Commission has started the process of identifying `sensitive areas,' he said the process would take some more time and the areas would be identified taking various factors into account. The Election Commission would take a decision on the deployment of Central forces.

Mr. Gupta said the Election Commission was serious about implementation of the model code of conduct. "We have already written to political parties to remove hoardings and cut-outs put up by them," he pointed out and added that wherever they were not removed, the official machinery would initiate appropriate action. He also said the Commission would initiate suo moto action on violations of the code even if there were no specific complaints.

On the transfer of officials, who have completed three years of service at a same place, he said the Police Department had already implemented the directive and the Collectors would take appropriate action on the issue in other departments.

The Special Chief Electoral Officer, C. P. Singh, the Joint Chief Electoral Officer, P. Senthil Kumar, Collectors, K.Nanda Kishore (Tiruchi), P.Sonai (Pudukottai), P. Ekambaram (Tiruvarur), M. Veera Shanmugamoni (Thanjavur), D. Vivekanandan (Perambalur) and A. Karthik (Karur) and the Commissioner, Tiruchi Corporation, Harmander Singh, participated in the meeting.