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EC to launch all-India helpline number soon

Raktima Bose

Lodging poll-related complaints to get easy

KOLKATA: People across the country will be able to lodge any election-related complaint 24x7 by just dialling the number ‘1965' as the Election Commission is to launch a common new all-India toll-free helpline number with call centres in every State and Union Territory soon.

While the mechanism will start functioning in four States (West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala) and one Union Territory (Pondicherry) where State Assembly elections are scheduled in two months, the remaining States and Union Territories, too, have been asked to institute call centres for the purpose.

Following a meeting between Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla and Chief Electoral Officers of all States through video-conferencing on Friday, the State's CEO Sunil Gupta said here that a call centre with 10 ‘hunting' phone lines will be set up in the State within a week's time.

“Keeping the forthcoming elections in view, Mr. Shukla asked all the State CEOs to set up a call centre and complaint monitoring system. An all-India number ‘1965' has been provided by the Commission for the purpose and it will become functional soon,” Mr. Gupta said.

According to the system, if a person dials the number, the call will be transferred to any one of the call centre phones in his or her State.

If someone staying out of a particular State wishes to lodge a complaint with that State's Commission, he or she has to affix the telephone code number of that State to 1965.

Pointing out that the State Election Commission is already in talks with BSNL to provide the 10 hunting lines, Mr. Gupta said that volunteers will be trained for the job for receiving the calls and immediately uploading them to the commission's online complaint monitoring system.

“Mobile numbers of the complainants will be taken down so that they can be notified about the action taken on the basis of their complaints. Similar call-centres will be set up in the districts, too, that will be linked to the State-level call centre,” he said.

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