The Punjab chief electoral office (CEO) is in dire need of 118 crore that the state government hasn’t paid for a smooth conduct of the Lok Sabha elections.
It has no money to even pay honorarium to the state employees on election duty. “Of the 118 crore, the state finance department has failed to deliver 94 crore for the administrative functions of the CEO and 24 crore for security,” Punjab additional chief electoral officer Raminder Singh on Friday told the media here.
Neutral observers are to arrive on April 9, while the election notification in the state would be out on April 2. Punjab principal secretary of finance DP Reddy declined to comment on the assertions of the CEO office. “I will cross-check and get back,” said Reddy.
20-LAKH EX GRATIA FOR DEATH ON POLL DUTY
The Election Commission of India will pay an ex gratia of 20 lakh to the family of any official killed in poll violence. In case of natural death on duty, the family will get 10 lakh. The CEO has started forming village- and ward-level awareness groups at polling stations of each expenditure-sensitive pocket. These groups, to be formed by district administration and police, will monitor flow of cash and liquor.
“The objective is to promote ethical voting and discourage inducement such as cash, gifts, liquor, and community feast for campaign,” said additional CEO S Purusartha.
The CEO awaits the replies of the state’s principal secretary (home) and senior officials concerned related to complaints against the police or matters of model-code-of-conduct violation lodged more than three days ago.
“The replies are required within 48 hours of the complaint,” said additional CEO S Purusartha, adding: “We have not received any reply, so far.” He was asked for details of replies related to the appointment of a proclaimed offender as assistant returning officer in Ludhiana and the alleged role of an IPS officer in helping out the Akalis in Bathinda.