**Bhubaneswar: ** After conducting a two-day review of poll preparedness of Odisha on February 14 and 15 here in the capital city of the State, the 6-member team of Election Commission of India (ECI) led by Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa today attached maximum importance to ensuring conducive environment for free and fair elections in the State.
The ECI has also directed effective use of IT applications (Apps) to attend to complaints promptly.
Addressing a press meet, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa said, “Samadhan, Suvidha and cVigil Apps have time-stamping facility to ensure transparency. Every effort will be made to ensure strict compliance of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and expenditure monitoring so that the political parties and the general voters can be assured for the free and fair elections. In addition to eVigil App, Voter Helpline Mobile App will be used in the forthcoming elections.”
The cVigil App will be activated in the State of Odisha once the lection dates are notified. Through this App, any citizen will be able to file complaints regarding MCC violations. The complaints thus received will be settled within the stipulated time frame. This App has been successfully operated in the recent legislative assembly elections held last year in other States.
The Election Commissioner also informed, “For the first time, Accessibility Observers will be appointed. The Commission will appoint General Observers, Expenditure Observers, Police Observers and Micro Observers for intensive impartial monitoring of the elections. Income Tax officials will also be deputed in each and every district for expenditure monitoring. Air Intelligence Units of IT authorities would be set up at all the airports in the State.”
The Election Commissioner also informed that Flying Squads and Static Surveillance teams will be constituted to check distribution of cash, liquor, drugs and freebies in sensitive pockets and border areas.
Also transaction of money through banking channels will be monitored and fool-proof arrangements would be made to monitor suspicious banking transactions.
The Commission has directed that at least all women managed polling stations shall be set up in each Assembly Segment of a Parliamentary Constituency in the State. Wherever possible, this number should be increased.
The Commission has also directed that basic facilities of electricity, ramps, sheds, drinking water, toilets be provided without fail.
The State Chief Secretary has been directed to ensure that all Transfers are effected by February 20, 2019 as per the Commission’s policy regarding transfers of the officers.
It was also emphasized to ensure effective training of Media Monitoring and Media Certification Committee members to check cases of Paid News.
Once Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into force, all publicity hoardings which are violative of ECI’s instructions shall be removed.
The Commission also informed media that there are total of 37606 Polling Stations at 30,798 polling locations in the State of Odisha.
The State Government has been directed to provide the Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) for all the voters specially the Persons with Disability (PwD) voters in all the Polling stations at the earliest.
The State will also launch a drive to provide electricity connections to all Polling Stations by March 15, 2019.
It was also informed that all the 21 Parliamentary Constituencies and 147 Assembly Constituencies of Odisha would be covered under ETPBS (Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System) to facilitate the Service Voters.
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