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Tuesday, October 16, 2001

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Ballot boxes, papers shifted to booths

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, OCT. 15. Preparations for the civic polls began this morning as the election officials arranged for the transport of materials from the 10 distribution centres to the 3,000-odd polling stations. The city, with an electorate of 37,60,622, goes to polls on Tuesday to elect the Mayor and the Corporation Council.

A few reports of the officials arriving late at the distribution centres apart, the exercise was carried out smoothly, said election officials. Presiding officers at one polling booth in Kilpauk Corporation Zone and two booths in Triplicane Zone reportedly arrived about an hour late. Reserve officials were deputed immediately and the polling materials were received by them. At NKT National School, the distribution centre for Triplicane Zone, the officials reportedly arrived late.

Over 9,000 ballot boxes and two sets of 39.5 lakh ballot papers were distributed to the polling stations by evening. Around 23,900 polling officials have been appointed to carry out the exercise. Polling will take place between 7-30 a.m. and 5-30 p.m. Counting will be taken up on October 21 and the new Council will be sworn in by October 25.

Commissioner warning

Stern action will be taken against those indulging in violence or attempting to cast bogus votes, the City Police Commissioner, Mr. K. Muthukaruppan, warned today.

Speaking to mediapersons, he said police had taken all precautions for a free and fair poll on Tuesday.

Though no preventive arrests were made the police had identified sensitive spots and patrolling would be intensified in these areas. Urging the candidates and their supporters to co-operate with the police, the Commissioner said information about any untoward incident could be given to the police control room (100). Special election control rooms had been set up besides control rooms in each of the three zones in the city.

Police pickets had been posted in 90 areas and they would be assisted by 45 mobile patrol teams. Each of the DCPs in the city would have a commando force. About 3,000 police personnel drawn up from the CRPF, SAF and TSP units had been posted for election duty.

Totally over 15,000 police personnel would be on election duty, he said.

In the city, there were 3,621 booths for elections to the 155 wards. While elaborate security arrangements had been made at the booths, armed police personnel have been stationed near `sensitive' booths.

Police teams had also been posted near the counting centres where the ballot boxes would be moved after the election, Mr. Muthukaruppan said.

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