Kolkata, Apr 9 UNI | 4 months ago

As the electorate in four Parliamentary constituencies of North Bengal are getting ready to cast their ballots in the first of the five phase elections in the state on April 17, the Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements to ensure that the polling would be free fair and without any violence.

Briefing reporters here this evening about the overall poll preparedness in the state, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of West Bengal Sunil Gupta said keeping in view the sensitivity of the entire poll process, the Election Commission had left no stone unturned not only to conduct the entire poll programme free and fair, but also to ensure that no violent or uncalled for incident took place, both during and after the elections.

He said with the first phase of elections in Coochbehar, Alipurduar, Jalapiguri and Darjeeling constituencies in three North Bengal districts remaining less than 10 days away, a series of meetings were held with the state and the Central law enforcing agencies to identify the vulnerable areas in each of the constituency and take corrective measures to prevent any possible violence or untoward incident.

Though the CEO refused to disclose the number of central and state security forces which were being deployed in all four constituencies for obvious reason, he said in every district, route march and flag marches were being conducted on daily basis with enough forces and in consultation with the concerned District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police.

As a result of a foolproof security bandobast, a large catche of arms and ammunition and explosives had already been recovered by the security forces who also made a considerable number of preventive arrests, Mr Gupta said and added that the process was still continuing.

Moreover, he said with a view to maintaining uninterrupted tele-communication between the CEO's office on one hand and the polling personnel and security chiefs on the other in some of the remotest corners of the state where no land line or mobile phone work, the Election Commission for the first time in the history of the country's electoral process had joined hands with the BSNL to set up a unique satellite telephone service in these remotest pockets under a scheme called 'Digital Satellite Phone Teminal'(DSPT).

"This would hopefully bring in a revolutionary change in the tele-communication services and network at the furthest corners of our country during elections," Mr Gupta stated.

Initially, 10 such satellite phones would be installed in the far flung areas of Jangalmahal zones of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts, where no tele-communication link was available anytime of the year, Mr Gupta informed.

Coming back to the number of seizure of illegal arms, ammunition and explosive material in the state, the CEO informed that so far, 944 arms, 2410 rounds of cartridges and 96 kg explosives had been recovered.

Over 44,800 people with criminal records were also rounded up as preventive steps, he added.

(Posted on 09-04-2014)