ECI asks Tripura govt to follow detailed guidelines

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Agartala, Jan 18 (UNI) The Election Commission of India (ECI) has instructed the Tripura administration to ensure that all officials engaged in the poll process discharged their duties in an impartial manner without any fear or favour.

During the meetings with the state officials, the ECI reminded them that several instructions had been issued from time to time to ensure impartiality of officials who were engaged in the conduct of elections, official sources said here today.

The conduct of all government officials, who were entrusted with the election-related responsibilities and duties, would remain under constant scrutiny of the Commission and strict action would be taken against those officials who were found wanting on any account.

The Commission also instructed that no election-related official or police officer of the rank of sub-inspector and above should be allowed to continue in his home district.

Besides, instructions had also been issued that all the election-related officials, including the police officials, who had completed three years in a district during the past four years, should be transferred out of that district.

The state government was also asked to transfer all those officers against whom the Commission had recommended disciplinary action or who had been charged for any lapse during the previous elections or for any election-related work, the sources added.

The state government was asked to ensure that those, who were transferred, should move out physically of their last place of posting and not remain there on any pretext, including leave.

The ECI also asked the administration not to associate any officer with the electoral process against whom charges had been framed in a court of law in any case.

Meanwhile, the commission was preparing to hold model elections to the 60-member Tripura Assembly in order to showcase its achievement in organising smooth and trouble-free polls.

However, lack of infrastructure and dearth of adequate tecnically trained officials had become a major cause of concern, the sources added.

''Even though the electoral rolls have been prepared, the Election department continues to be plagued by a host of problems.

The commission had initially planned to depute 65 observers for the state's 60 seats, but Chief Secretary Shashi Prakash sent an SOS saying that the state government does not have proper facilities to host so many observers,'' the sources said.

Besides, the Election department was facing major problems in providing computer and broadband connectivity to the counting halls for ballots because broadband service was not available in all the 17 sub-divisional towns.

''The trouble is that according to ECI guidelines, provision for Internet broadband, computer, mobile and fax for observers are essential,'' officials said, adding that the state Election department had failed to send any requisition to BSNL for extending broadband connectivity to counting halls in sub-divisional towns.

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