Odisha Panchayat Polls: Joint Meet Of Collectors, SPs Stresses On Cashless Transactions

**Bhubaneswar:** In a bid to conduct the upcoming three-tier Panchayat Polls in Odisha in a free, fair and peaceful manner, State Election Commission on Friday convened a joint conference of all District Collectors and Superintendents of Police (SPs) from across the State here at the capital city.

In the post-demonetisation phase, stress was put on conducting the grassroots-level elections by means of minimum cash and maximum cashless transactions.

Briefing media after the joint conference, Rabi Narayan Senapati, State Election Commissioner said, “For the ensuing three-tier Panchayat Polls, a meeting of the District Collectors and SPs was convened today. Discussion was held on the various aspects of organising the election. The Collectors and SPs apprised the Commission on the problems and the facilities available in their respective districts. The chief discussion was on conducting the polls in a free, fair and peaceful manner. The Collectors and SPs put forth their suggestions. We hope that the upcoming Panchayat Polls will pass off peacefully, smoothly and incident-free.”

Anil Kumar Samal, Collector, Angul informed media, “The three-tier Panchayat Polls is a sensitive and challenging issue for all. Today was a joint conference of Collectors and SPs. Different issues were discussed. Focus was on conducting free, fair, peaceful and smooth election. Polling personnel deployment and observing model code of conduct was also discussed today. Detailed discussion was held how to manage law and order at the sensitive and hyper-sensitive booths. The discussion was overall fruitful. Concerned confusions and clarifications were cleared at the meeting today. Such issues are there in a few districts. Accordingly plans and phasings have been made. The polls will be of five phases. It was discussed how the phases will pass on hassle-free with receipt of ballot boxes and papers duly. A master plan charted out jointly by the respective District Collectors and SPs is mandatory. It has been directed to be duly prepared and submitted before January 24. Discussion was also held on post demonetisation issue. How to organise the election in a cashless manner, especially requisition of vehicles. Payment will be made online or through cheques. Discussion was held on minimum cash transactions by the administration during the polls.”

As per sources, four different colours of ballot papers will be used during the three-tier grassroots-level elections.

While blue ballot paper will be used for the Ward Member post, yellow is for the Sarpanch, pink for the Samiti Member and white for the Zilla Parishad posts, sources added.

The joint conference also stressed upon 126 Maoist-infested blocks.

It was also revealed that poll conduct under 131 police station limits of 19 districts will be major.