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Two-way communication plan on polling day: Gupta

Special Correspondent

Focus on training polling officials, “vulnerability mapping”

— Photo: M. Moorthy

WIDE-RANGING CONSULTATION: Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta chairing a meeting to discuss poll arrangements, in Tiruchi on Tuesday.

TIRUCHI: Putting in place a two-way communication plan on polling day, extensive training for polling officials and “vulnerability mapping” are key focus areas of preparations for the Lok Sabha elections, said Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta here on Tuesday.

“We want to establish a good communication plan on polling day so that booth-level polling officials can immediately report any problem, disruptions or violence. In such instances, officials can seek the help of zonal/returning officers, the office of the CEO or even the Election Commission.

“It will be a two-way communication channel so that the Election Commission can also randomly conduct checks at the booth level. Apart from mobile phones, use of wireless systems will be considered,” Mr. Gupta told reporters after commencing a series of regional level preparatory meetings for the general elections.

Officials briefed

Mr. Gupta and Joint Chief Electoral Officer Jayashree Muralidharan briefed Collectors, Returning Officers and senior police officers of eight districts.

Location of counting centres, enforcement of the model code of conduct and preparation of database of polling personnel were the major issues discussed.

Emphasis was laid on mapping vulnerable areas in a scientific manner and training of polling personnel so that they were fully conversant with the election rules. Compact discs with substantial learning material would be circulated to the polling officials, he said.

Provisions of the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act would be strictly enforced and there could be no wall writings on properties that were in public view, even with the permission of the owners. Answering a query, Mr.Gupta said the Election Commission would come out with an order on the documents that would be accepted as proof of identity for voting. About 99.45 per cent of the electors in the State had been covered under the photo electoral rolls.

Instructions have been given to officials to ensure that the district-level Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) centres, for issuing the cards for those who were yet to get it, were fully functional.

Collectors T.Soundiah (Tiruchi), M.S.Shanmugam (Thanjavur), J.Uma Maheswari (Karur), Reeta Harish Thakkar (Pudukottai), M.Chandrasekaran (Tiruvarur), M.Jayaraman (Nagapattinam), R.Sudalaikannan (Perambalur) and Anil Meshram (Ariyalur), Inspector General of Police, Central Zone, Karan Singha, Deputy Inspector Generals K. Balasubramanian (Tiruchi Range) and Abhay Kumar Singh (Thanjavur Range) and Tiruchi Corporation Commissioner T. T. Balsamy were among those who attended the meeting.

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