CHANDIGARH: Ahead of General Elections to the Legislative Assembly Punjab 2022, Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday reviewed the poll preparedness in the state.
The virtual review meeting was chaired by Deputy Election Commissioner (DEC) Nitesh Kumar Vyas, in the presence of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Punjab Dr S Karuna Raju. All the Deputy Commissioners-cum-District Election Officers (DEOs) and Commissioner of Police (CPs)/Senior Superintendent of Police (SSPs) of Punjab also attended the meeting.
In wake of the Omicron, the new variant of COVID-19, Mr Vyas stressed on the need to vaccinate the entire staff and volunteers to be deputed for election duties and directed all the DEOs to organise special camps for COVID vaccination of the staff.
He also asked DEOs to clear the pendency of adding new voters and cases of deletion or shifting of existing voters. He directed to intensify the SVEEP activities including sending text messages or roping in celebrities or sports persons to encourage voters to exercise their franchise and maximum promote ‘1950’ voter helpline.
Mr Vyas asked DEOs to ensure certified training of all the ROs/AROs and also directed them to visit maximum polling stations especially at the remote areas. He asked them to ensure hassle-free voting experience for Persons with Disability (PwD) voters and old age voters by ensuring proper ramps and wheelchairs at all the polling booths. He also asked the officers to ensure 100% webcasting of all the polling stations.
He also asked the concerned officers to expedite the process of deposition of firearms in their respective districts. He asked officials to expedite the process of identification of vulnerable polling stations and expenditure sensitive constituencies.
During the meeting, DEOs and CPs/SSPs briefed DEC about the status of poll preparedness in their respective districts. Status of distribution of EPICs, distribution of voter information slips, publishing of Criminal Antecedents by contesting candidates, provisions made at polling stations for voters above 80 years of age along with PwD voters, SVEEP activities being carried out to increase voter turnout, postal ballot status for absentee voters, cash seizures, drive against illicit liquor as also preparations put in place for COVID19 suspects, among others were elaborated upon. Issues relating to inter-district coordination, deployment of security forces, management plan for remotely located polling stations, communication plan for shadow areas, provisions for webcasting and monitoring, resolution of complaints received over voter helplines and cVIGIL app, availability of Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) in auxiliary Polling Stations, training of security forces, etc. were also specifically reviewed.