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State CEO initiates relocation of 'above ground floor' booths

KOLKATA: The state CEO (Chief Electoral Officer) office has started the process of bringing all the 'above the ground floor' booths to ground level to facilitate the polling process of PwD (Person with Disability) voters.

There are 1565 booths located above the ground floor level across the state, out of which 750 are in North Kolkata.

The move comes as the Election Commission of India (ECI) directed all the states to speed up the process of doing the needful in this matter.

The Commission has noticed that the senior citizens and the physically challenged face a lot of difficulty in climbing stairs to cast their vote

"We want to complete the entire process of bringing down the booths before the announcement of polls. This will ensure that the aged and the physically challenged can cast their votes smoothly," said an official in the CEO office

In North Kolkata, there are 2083 polling stations including 215 auxiliary booths, of which approximately 40 per cent are placed upstairs.

Meanwhile, under the direction of the ECI, the CEO office has started the training of Returning Officers (ROs) to have a clear idea whether they have the legal and technical expertise to conduct the high profile election like the Assembly polls. .

"The ROs who are mainly the BDOs and the SDOs are responsible for conducting the election in a particular Assembly constituency. The ROs directly report to the District Election Officer (DEO) or the DM of the district, a state election commission official said.

"Presently around 350 ROs are undergoing the training at the Administrative Training Institute for three days," he added. After this training they will have to sit for a written examination which will be conducted by 'India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management'.

"After the evaluation, if anyone fails to qualify then they will have to go through the training again," he added.

Deputy EC Sudeep Jain who is in charge of Bengal will hold a video conference with the DMs and SPs on Thursday late afternoon to take stock of the election preparedness. His scheduled visit to the state this week has been postponed.

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