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Allow lodging of poll observers in private facilities: DMs to CEO

KOLKATA: A number of District Magistrates have written to state CEO Ariz Aftab, seeking his nod for allowing them to arrange private accommodation for the poll observers deputed by the Election Commission.

The district administration is finding it tough to arrange for the observers' accommodation as most of the government accommodations are not equipped to meet the basic security and COVID health protocols.

"The election observers are generally accommodated in government circuit houses, Zilla Parishad guest houses and similar lodging facilities, belonging to different government departments.

Many of them have not witnessed proper maintenance amid the COVID pandemic. Some of these buildings have also suffered damage due to Amphan. So, we are finding it difficult to arrange accommodation for the observers in government facilities," a senior district official said.

At private guest houses, security is a major concern as it is difficult to restrict entry of the common people there. "Moreover, it is also difficult to maintain COVID protocol in these facilities," a senior Commission official said. Government buildings in South and North 24-Parganas, East and West Midnapore and Nadia have been damaged by Amphan. "The Commission may instruct the district administration to find accommodation close to the local police stations or SP's office so that additional security arrangements can be made quickly if needed. Central forces may also be deployed," the official added.

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