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Digital cameras to take snaps of voters in Bengal

Written by: Staff

Kolkata, Mar 30 (UNI) For the first time in West Bengal, digital cameras will be used to shoot photographs of the voters in a large number of booths during the forthcoming Assembly polls as part of the Election Commission's effort to check impersonation.

"Digital cameras will be put in use in the sensitive booths for taking photographs of the voters, particularly those without possessing photo identity cards," Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Debasish Sen today said at a meet-the-press, organised by Kolkata Press Club.

Mr Sen said the cameras had been purchased by the State Government from Singapore at the request of the EC for taking snaps of voters in selected booths depending on sensitivity and the number of EPIC issued to voters.

"There will be a pick and choose in selecting the booths on the basis of consultation of the district administration and EC observers taking into account both sensitivity and the number of EPIC," he said.

The CEO said about 92 per cent of the voters in the state were under the EPIC coverage and efforts were on to increase it. EPIC coverage in Kerala and Pondicherry, going to polls simultaneously with West Bengal, was hundred per cent while in Assam it was low, he added.

Replying to a question, whether possession of EPIC had been made mandatory for voters to cast ballot, Mr Sen said till date the EC had not sent any clarification on the issue and requested the electorate to get themselves photographed at the earliest.

Mr Sen made it clear that since the day of announcement of election dates, the local police administration was liable to be under the control of the EC, and it was the Commission which would decide on deployment of security forces during polling.

He, however, clarified that though Central Para Military personnel would be posted at the gates of polling booths, there was "no clear cut directive from the EC that there will be only central force and no state police." "In fact, they will be work shoulder to shoulder--all under the EC--discharging duty according to the situation," he said.

Clarifying the rule regarding wall writing, the CEO said the EC had issued a notice in July, 2005 that nobody could write on public property anywhere in the country. But if a local law existed then that would be enforced, which had happened in the case of West Bengal, he said.


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