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EC getting tough on Photo Identity Cards

This comes as a warning to the divisional commissioners and the district magistrates who have failed to expedite the EPIC distribution work, reports Umesh Raghuvanshi.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2007 22:09 IST

Taking a strong exception to tardy progress of distribution of Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) the EC has asked all the Divisional Commissioners and the District Magistrates to certify by February 26, 2007 that EPIC already prepared had been distributed in their respective divisions and districts.

This comes as a warning to the divisional commissioners and the district magistrates who have failed to expedite the EPIC distribution work. The EC's deadline had a reflection on the meeting of the divisional commissioners that Chief Secretary presided over here today. The State Government also warned them not only to expedite the EPIC distribution but also keep a watch on the law and order situation to ensure that no disturbance took place the districts under their supervision.

As EC had decided not to allow anybody to cast votes without the EPIC in the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections its concern for the EPIC distribution is obvious. Action would be taken against officers who fail to submit a certificate by the EC's deadline for distribution of EPIC, said a senior officer. So far, nearly 72 percent I-cards have been distributed. The EC has now asked officers to make EPIC available to all the voters by deadline to ensure that no one was deprived from voting in Uttar Pradesh.

According to sources the review indicated that progress of EPIC distribution was not up to mark in Chitrakoot, Fatehpur and some other districts. The State Government has asked the officers to expedite progress and complete EPIC distribution by the deadline. As elections to Vidhan Sabha inch closer the EC's directives to meet the deadline are obvious. A special campaign to ensure 100 percent EPIC distribution would now be launched.

Significantly the EC had summoned the Chief Secretary Naveen Chandra Bajpai and the DGP Bua Singh for a meeting in New Delhi on Thursday to review progress of the distribution of the EPIC and poll preparations. The EC had asked the Chief Secretary to identify those responsible for tardy progress and hold them accountable. So, the Chief Secretary convened a meeting of divisional commissioners today. He has also convened a meeting of the district magistrates on February 11, 2007 to review situation.

As a question mark hangs on whether the officers would be able to complete the EPIC distribution by the deadline the Chief Secretary Naveen Chadra Bajpai presided over a meeting of the divisional commissioners. Chief Secretary asked the divisional commissioners to review the situation on a day-to-day basis and a send a report regularly to the State Government and Chief Election Officer Anuj Kumar Bishnoi.

Chief Secretary also asked officers to keep a watch on all the arms license holders and suspend arms licenses of those found disturbing law and order.  Officers have also been asked to keep a watch on anti-social elements and take preventive action wherever necessary. Officers have been asked to conduct a category-wise review of the arms licenses issued so far and ascertain which category had been given maximum licenses.