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Plan to evade trouble in poll-bound districts after Fani barrels into Bengal

Chief Electoral Officer issues guidelines on alternative arrangements for smooth conduct of election in fifth phase

Plan to evade trouble in poll-bound districts after Fani barrels into Bengal

Kolkata: The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state Ariz Aftab on Friday held a video conference with the senior election officers in all the poll-bound districts issuing guidelines on how to put in place adequate alternative arrangements if the cyclone 'Fani' affects the poll preparation.

During his meeting, the CEO also took a stock of the overall arrangements that have been made to handle the crisis. One of the main objectives of the initiative is to ensure that the Election Commission does not face any problem to conduct the polls in the fifth phase. On May 6, elections will be held in Bongaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Sreerampore, Hooghly and Arambagh.

According to the weather office prediction, a severe cyclone 'Fani' will hit the state on late night of May 3 or early morning of May 4. The district election officers will have roughly 24 hours in hand to overcome any emergency situation.

The election officials have already spoken to their counterparts in the Election Commission of India in Delhi. The CEO office has instructed the district administrative officials to deploy the disaster management personnel in various places under their districts so that prompt action can be taken in case of any untoward incident.

Sanjay Basu, additional CEO, on Friday said that they wanted to know from the district election officers if

everything was in place as per plan.

The district officials have been asked to inspect the Distribution Cum Receiving Centers (DCRC) from time to time. DCRC are generally accommodated in a temporary makeshift structure outside school buildings.

The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are distributed from the DCRCs. The Election Commission is chalking out an alternative arrangement if the cyclone damages the DCRCs.

"We are preparing a second plan so that the DCRCs can be put up inside the school or any other buildings. We have instructed the district election officials to make indoor arrangements if the DCRCs are damaged in the cyclone," Basu said.

He also mentioned that there will be adequate arrangements of vehicles to ferry the polling personnel to the polling stations on Sunday.

Measures are being taken so that the poll personnel do not face any difficulties in reaching the polling stations. There will be alternative arrangement of small vehicles to take the poll persons to various places.

During a press conference Basu said that the commission has so far received 2352 complaints out of which 113 are in the process of disposal. The Commission has seized 60.50 crore cash and nearly 15 lakh litre of liquor.

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