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Babus back to classrooms, with EVMs

The babus are back in the classroom and this time they are learning to operate the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) according to the Election Commission’s instructions.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2009 00:58 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Hindustan Times

The babus are back in the classroom and this time they are learning to operate the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) according to the Election Commission’s instructions. This will help avoid last-minute glitches in the polling booths, says the EC.

The EC has made it clear that in the case of malfunctioning of EVMs, the concerned officials would be held responsible. The EC wants to avoid situations wherein presiding officers have failed to operate the EVMs properly during the previous election.

To address these issues, the EC has asked the chief electoral officers in the states to ensure that EVM training is taken seriously by the concerned officials.

The recent EC instructions said: “During the previous elections, it has come to the notice of the Commission that there were some difficulties while operationing the EVMs at some polling stations due to the fact that they were not prepared correctly as per the operational manual. While in some ‘slide switch’ on the balloting unit was found to be in the wrong position, in others, certain other preparatory defects were noticed. It has further come to the notice of the Commission that some of the Presiding Officers/Sector Magistrates do not take EVM training seriously with the result that they fail to operate the machine at the time of poll”.

The EC has further said, “Proper intensive and hands-on training should be given to all the concerned polling and counting personnel for preparation and operation of EVMs as well as their sealing after poll and counting. Officers preparing the machines should give a certificate that they have prepared the machines as per the instructions given and checked them...”

EVMs requiring repair (i.e. opening of their control or balloting unit) will be segregated and their details kept. For such repaired machines where either the control unit or the balloting unit have been opened, details will be entered in log book specifying the repairs done.

Only the technicians from Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL)/Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) will work on the machines and keep a record of repairs carried out.

The machines will be prepared for the polls by the Returning Officers (ROs) phase wise after the finalisation of list of candidates. Authorities shall ensure that representatives of political parties/candidates are informed of time and venue of EVM preparation. EVMs after preparation shall be kept in storage centres/dispersal centres. The prepared EVMs shall be kept under double-lock at the storage/dispersal centres.

In cases where these have to be transported to other locations outside the district headquarters, the District Election Officer/RO shall apprise the Observer, political parties and candidates and keep them informed of the movement plan. The candidates or their agents can follow the vehicles in which EVMs are carried.

Machines used for training shall not be used for poll. All such machines will be segregated and stored in a separate room. After poll, the EVMs are to be kept in strong rooms at the counting centres. State Armed Police/Central Para Military Force will guard all strong rooms.

First Published: Mar 23, 2009 00:58 IST