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Video surveillance in all polling booths in Puducherry

Rajesh B. Nair

Flying squads to check implementation of code of conduct

PUDUCHERRY: All 866 polling booths in the Union Territory will be kept under video surveillance during polling on April 13, Collector-cum Electoral Officer G. Ragesh Chandra has said.

Mr. Chandra told The Hindu that the Union Territory would be the “first State to put all polling booths under the web camera,” which would enable the Election Commission, Chief Electoral Officer, District Electoral Officer, and others to simultaneously monitor the polling procedure.

“Earlier, only sensitive booths were put under video surveillance. In Bihar too, video surveillance was used to monitor polling process in select constituencies.

But, Puducherry will be the first State to have all its polling booths under web surveillance,” he said.

Toll free number

The national toll free number 1965 launched by the Election Commission for the Assembly polls has become active in the Union Territory since Thursday. Voters in Puducherry could dial 1965 to register poll related complaints and also clear doubts on subjects connected with polling or electoral rolls.

A total of 23 flying squads would be formed to see the implementation of model code of conduct.

Besides constituting squads, there would be separate teams for video surveillance and video monitoring.

While the video surveillance team would record campaigning, speeches and activities of candidates and their supporters, the video monitoring team would scrutinise footage taken by the surveillance team, he said. The local channels have to provide the recordings of news and election related coverage to the Election Department for review, Mr. Chandra said, adding that election news in newspapers would also be monitored on a daily basis to check paid news.

The Election Commission has also introduced for the first time static surveillance team in constituencies to check distribution of doles and cash, he added.

For maintaining law and order, the service of 15 companies of Central paramilitary force had been sought, he said, adding that it would be an addition to local police and India Reserve Battalion.

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