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2021 Assembly polls to cost state exchequer Rs 1,000 cr

2021 Assembly polls to cost state exchequer Rs 1,000 cr
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Kolkata: With the Assembly polls in Bengal scheduled to be held in the next couple of months, the state government has estimated an expenditure of about Rs 1,000 crore for the election.

The increase in the expenditure for the forthcoming Assembly elections is going up due to the arrangements needed to conduct the polls adhering to Covid protocols.

According to a senior official of the state government, there would be an additional expense for health-related issues due to the Covid situation and at the same time, the number of polling booths is also going up to maintain the ceiling of 1000 voters in each booth. "It does not need a mention that polling personnel will also go up with the increase in the number of booths and there will be an additional requirement of all materials that are usually needed in the booths," an official said.

The state Home and Hill Affairs department is preparing the "general estimate" for the polls and it would submit its assessment to the state Finance department in the next few days. "But as per preliminary calculation, an increase of around Rs 400 crore has been estimated compared to that of the expense in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls," the official added.

There was an expenditure of around Rs 599 crore in the state in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. "The increase in the expenditure is not at all a problem as there is provision for the same," the official said.

It may be mentioned that there would be 30 per cent increase in the number of booths due to Covid situation as 22,887 auxiliary booths would be set up. As a result, the number of booths would go up to 1,01,790.

Setting up of the auxiliary booths is needed so that the number of voters in a booth does not go above 1000. The booths housed at the first floor of any polling station also have to be brought down to the ground floor. With the increase in the number of booths, there will also be a requirement of additional 47,000 to 50,000 polling personnel. It has also been recommended to increase the security personnel by around 25 per cent, that will lead to the highest deployment of 1,000 companies' security forces so far in the state in the forthcoming elections.

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