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Election Commission asks DMs to ensure presence of BLOs in booths

Election Commission asks DMs to ensure presence of BLOs in booths
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Kolkata: The state Election Commission (EC) has directed the district magistrates to ensure regular presence of the Booth Level Officers (BLO) at the booths during Special Summary Revision (SSR), which commenced on November 18.

According to sources, the state EC had received complaints that some BLOs are not turning up at the booths for discharging their duties, which includes checking of voters' applications for inclusion, exclusion or correction in the electoral roll. The SSR will continue till December 15.

Between these 27 days, all the Saturdays and Sundays will be treated as Special Campaign Days where the BLOs will have to remain present at the booth from 12 noon to 3 pm. On other days, they will have to stay at the booth for two hours.

The EC will dispose of all the claims and objections by January 5 and will publish the final voters' list on January 15. However, due to irregular attendance of BLO at certain booths, the SSR process has not picked up the desired momentum.

"We have also received allegations that in some premises, where the number of booths are on the higher side, the BLOs are asking voters to do SSR online and not turn up at the booth," said an EC official.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Bengal Ariz Aftab on Friday held a meeting with the DMs physically and asked them to take measures for rationalising the booths in the states. Presently, there are 7,8903 polling stations across the state. As per guidelines of Election Commission of India, the number needs to be increased by 15 to 25 per cent for maintaining COVID-19 protocols. No booth should have more than 1,500 voters. Thus, some booths need to be divided too.

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