HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Polls to enter a smart (card) age in UP

Gulam Jeelani, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, November 08, 2013
First Published: 09:34 IST(8/11/2013) | Last Updated: 09:38 IST(8/11/2013)

Black-and-white laminated voter identity cards would be history in the New Year. Plastic elector’s voter ID cards (EPIC) -- with an in-built hologram -- would be issued by the state to the new voters for the 2014 Lok Sabha election.


While the new cards would be issued free of cost, those who already have the earlier EPICs would have to pay a nominal fee to get it converted into the new plastic card.

The smarter and handy version of the ID cards with coloured photographs (similar to ATM and PAN cards) would be helpful in checking card misuse and fake voting, according to officials who said that the tendering process for this had already begun.

“The existing cards are of poor quality with black and white photographs. At times the identification of the real voter becomes difficult. We have got a green signal from the election commission and tenders have been issued,” said Umesh Sinha, chief electoral officer, UP.

The EPIC would be made using plastic material, and will be multi-layered. It will also have the hologram of the Election Commission besides a distinct barcode.

“At times, poor quality of printing of voters’ details and photographs create problems for the presiding officers at polling booths in identification of the cardholder. This leads to possibility of impersonation,” said Anurag Yadav, district magistrate, Lucknow.

“We have set the target to start providing the new coloured cards as soon as possible so that voters could use it in the Lok Sabha elections. Those EPIC holders willing to change their cards may get them by paying a small amount to be estimated on cost to cost basis,” said Sinha.

After the voter list revision exercise that ended on October 31, EPIC distribution to newly enrolled voters would begin from January 5.

Roughly 20-25 lakh new voters, most of them in the age group of 18-19 years, are added to the list every year.

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