The chief secretary NC Bajpai on Sunday issued a stern warning to district magistrates to complete distribution of voters' photo identity cards immediately or face consequences. Bajpai said the process of the distribution should be completed by February 25. The DMs have also been asked to immediately stop issuing fresh arms licences. In this connection a circular of the Election Commission has been given to them.
The Election Commission, which has been closely monitoring the work has set the deadline of February 26 for the completion of the process. Since the Commission has sought the report on the law and order situation in the state, Bajpai also reviewed the prevailing situation.
In the backdrop of the Commission taking a tough stand on identity cards Bajai who summoned the district magistrates' meeting in Lucknow on Sunday, said if the election process was hampered because of I-card then the DMs would be held responsible. Pointing out that slackness would not be tolerated, Bajpai said electorates whose photographs had been taken should be issued cards by February 25.
Reviewing the district-wise performance, Bajpai expressed his dissatisfaction over the present pace of the work as no district proved upto the mark. There is a vast difference between photography of the voters and distribution of the card. The pace of work in 19 districts including Rae Bareli, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Unnao, Fatehpur, Sultanpur, Khiri, Banda, Chitrakoot, Meerut and Moradabad was extremely slow. Bajpai said as per the directives of the Election Commission I-card work should be completed on priority. He said DMs should know that photography of the voters was not the only responsibility but they should ensure the delivery of card to every voter. Bajpai said he would be reviewing the work daily to ensure the compliance of the Commission directives.
Instructions have been issued to the DMs to send information on a daily basis to divisional commissioners who in turn would forward it to the chief electoral officer (CEO) and staff officer to the chief secretary.
Bajpai also issued directives to beef up the law and order situation. The Principal Secretary (Home) SK Agarwal asked the DMs to ensure execution of non-bailable warrants against the criminals. He said wanted criminals should be immediately arrested and NSA, Goonda Act and Gangster Act should be slapped on dreaded criminals. Agarwal said action should be taken against stock piling of arms to ensure free and fair election. DGP Bua Singh and CEO AK Vishnoi were also present at the meeting.
Email Masoodul Hasan: mhasan @hindustantimes.com