Chandigarh, Dec 4 (UNI): The Election Commission on Saturday reviewed the poll preparedness for Punjab Legislative Assembly elections 2022.
The virtual review meeting was chaired by Deputy Election Commissioner (DEC) Nitesh Kumar Vyas in the presence of Punjab Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) S Karuna Raju. All the Deputy Commissioners-cum-District Election Officers (DEOs) and Commissioners of Police (CPs)/Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) of Punjab attended the meeting.
In the wake of Omicron, the new variant of Covid-19, Vyas stressed on the need to vaccinate all the 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 the 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 sportspersons to encourage voters to exercise their franchise and promote the ‘1950’ voter helpline.
Vyas asked the DEOs to ensure certified training of all ROs/AROs and also directed them to visit maximum polling stations, especially in remote areas. He asked them to ensure hassle-free voting experience for Persons with Disability (PwD) and old age voters by ensuring proper ramps and wheelchairs at all polling booths. He also asked the officers to ensure 100 per cent webcasting of all polling stations.
The DEC also asked the concerned officers to expedite the process of deposition of firearms in their respective districts. He asked the officials to expedite the process of identification of vulnerable polling stations and expenditure sensitive constituencies.
During the meeting, the DEOs and CPs/SSPs briefed DEC about the status of poll preparedness in their respective districts. The 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 Covid-19 suspects, among others were elaborated upon.
Issues related 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 and training of security forces were also specifically reviewed.