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650 more units of Central Forces to be deployed in state

KOLKATA: The Election Commission of India has decided to send another 650 companies of central forces before the first phase of election, taking the total number of forces in the state to 945 companies. It is the highest deployment in any election in the state so far. These additional forces are likely to reach the state on March 25.

Presently, there are 125 companies of central forces deployed in the state. They are being used for area domination and patrolling. By March 8, another 170 companies are expected to reach the state. These 295 companies of forces will be used mainly for maintaining law and order situation in the non-polling districts.

The first phase of elections involves over 10200 booths. Each booth will be having 6 paramilitary personnel on an average. "The entire force will not be used for booth management only, but they will also be used for area domination and as flying squad," an EC official said.

In 2019 parliamentary elections, the Commission had deployed 842 companies of central forces on poll duty.

Sources in the Commission said more forces are likely to come before the second or third phase of polling.

Meanwhile, a senior official in the state CEO office said the Commission for the first time would arrange postal ballot voting facilities for those who would not be able to turn up in booths due to their engagement in election related works.

The category includes Railways, Metro Railways, Telegraph office staff, Doordarshan, All India Radio and media personnel authorised by EC for poll day duty. The CEO office held a meeting with representatives of these categories on Tuesday.

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