Imphal, Jan 24,
Preparations for the upcoming 17th Lok Sabha Elections - 2019 is underway in the State where 19,30,912 voters will exercise their franchise in 2,861 polling stations, which is an increase of 44 polling stations compared to last time.
Addressing media persons at his office in Lamphelpat, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) PK Singh said that more than 4,000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are already placed in the strong room. Stating that the last batch of 1,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) will be brought from Banguluru day after tomorrow, he said the existing machines have been checked by over 20 engineers of the Bharat Electronics Ltd. He assured that there is an adequate reserve of EVM.
He said that for free and fair conduct of election, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has made clear instructions regarding the voting compartment. It will be made of 4mm thick foldable and weather proof corrugated sheet which will be closed from three sides and cameras will be installed completed by 15th February.
Regarding the security arrangements, PK Singh said that 79 companies of paramilitary forces out of which 39 companies from the State and 40 companies from outside the State were used in the last election in 2014. He said that similar level of security arrangement is expected this time and the State Police will also be engaged for the election.
Speaking about the awareness campaign of EVM and VVPAT, he said that CEC emphasised on the familiarization of machines very seriously. He said for the State, different polling teams were sent along with EVMs and VVPATS for the awareness campaign in the total 2,861 polling stations which was covered in two and half months. He said that the awareness campaign first kick started in the Thoubal district.
He said that 1,41,000 people used EVMs and got familiar with VVPATs during the awareness campaign. The highest number of participation was recorded in Patsoi where 16,234 voters tested the machine. He informed that the awareness campaign of EVM and VVPAT will continue in the market areas including the Ima Market where poll teams will visit in mobile vans and those who cast vote will be eligible for lucky draw, where winners will be immediately given prizes. The motive is to create a festive kind of atmosphere, he added.Jarnail Singh, former Chief Secretary and Administrator of Manipur University lead the draw of lots which was assisted by the officers of the CEO Manipur office. The State level winners will receive a Honda Activa as the first prize, a 40 cm LED television set as the second prize and a refrigerator as the third prize. The State level lucky draw winners were chosen from the familiarization campaign of EVM and VVPAT at district level, people who participated in the Sangai Festival and at CEO Office. A draw winner in each constituency will get a mobile phone worth Rs 6,000. The winners will be felicitated on National Voters’ Day on 25th January.
Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents.