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Spl Covid norms set for counting of votes

Kolkata: The Election Commission has made arrangements for counting of elections in 705 halls in Bengal with a maximum of seven tables in each of the hall to maintain physical distancing and other health protocols related with management of COVID-19. Mask, sanitisers and face shields will be made compulsory for all in the counting venues. The move by the Commission assumes significance with the Madras High Court singularly holding the Commission responsible for the second Covid wave and threatening to stop counting of votes scheduled on May 2 Sunday if a 'blueprint' is not in place

"During the last Assembly elections counting was held in 385 halls. We have almost doubled the counting venues that had gone upto 705. In majority of the counting halls there will be seven tables and in some where the space is large there may be 14 tables. The blueprint is expected to be finalised by Tuesday after holding video conference with the district election officers (DEOs)," Aariz Aftab, state Chief Electoral Officer said.

A meeting was also held with the DEOs on Monday regarding Covid protocols during counting. "There will be temperature check at the entry point in all the venues," Aftab said. The Election Commission on Monday announced that voting at 126 booth at Amtali Madhyamik Siksha Kendra at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar will be held on April 29.

During the fourth phase of polls held in April 10 , four persons were killed in firing by Central forces near the polling booth at Sitalkuchi and the Commission had declared voting at that particular polling station to be void.

The date of polls at Sitalkuchi polling booth coincides with the last phase of

elections in the state scheduled on April 29.

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