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Ahead of EC full bench visit to state, 2 IAS officers appointed as poll officers

Ahead of EC full bench visit to state, 2 IAS officers appointed as poll officers

Kolkata: A day ahead of the visit of the full bench of the Election Commission of India to Bengal for taking stock of Assembly elections preparedness, the state government on Tuesday appointed 2 IAS officers Smaraki Mahapatra and Sanghamitra Ghosh as Joint Chief Electoral Officer and Additional Chief Electoral Officer respectively.

Ghosh, a 1997 batch IAS officer, was posted as Secretary Women and Child Development and Social Welfare department while Mahapatra, a 2002 batch IAS officer was working as Secretary in the state Finance department with the additional responsibility of the director of West Bengal Highway Development Corporation. They have been asked to take their new responsibility immediately.

The full bench comprising the Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora and 2 election commissioners – Sushil Chandra and Rajeev Kumar will hold meeting with CEO (Chief Electoral Officer) Ariz Aftab and ADG (Law & Order) Gyanwant Singh—who happens to be the nodal officer of the state police— to

take stock of the law and order situation.

Deputy Election Commissioner in-charge of Bengal Sudeep Jain during his visit last week had directed the SPs to speed up the execution of non bailable arrest warrants (NBW). "More than 50,000 NBWs were pending and the state in the last 4 days has executed more than 10,000 NBWs and is hopeful of completing the whole process in the next 10 days," a senior state government official said.

On Tuesday state CEO Ariz Aftab called on IG, CRPF P. K Singh and IG, BSF A. K Singh and took stock of the availability and the movement of the forces before and during the elections. "In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the total number of booths were 7,72,47 spread over 5,22,77 locations but this time the number of booths have increased to 10,17,33 because of the Covid situation. We will need additional forces for managing these extra polling stations. So, there will be more central forces deployed compared to the Lok Sabha elections," an official in the Commission said.

On Thursday, the full bench will hold a meeting separately with all the political parties, the officials of election related Regulatory Agencies and also with the District Magistrates and Police Superintendents of the districts.

On Friday, the full bench will hold a meeting with the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, Director General of Police and other senior state officials before leaving the city in the late afternoon.

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