GhaziabadThe electoral process in Ghaziabad in Delhi’s neighbourhood is potentially under threat from an unlikely enemy — rats.The electronic voting machines (EVMs), which contain the fortunes of 53 candidates from the five assembly constituencies of Ghaziabad district, are currently stored at the Govindpuram grain market after the first phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections on February 11. The grain market is spread over nearly 35 acres and has thick bushes and isolated tracts, providing a safe haven for rats. Traders here say rodents in the market can cause major damage to grains and other food items. The EVMs are stored inside nearly 20-22 shops .Sakib Ali/HT PhotoOfficials have ordered for rat-kill medicines and pest control to keep the rats at bay and secure the 2,494 EVMs stored at the grain market.“The rats here are fearless and roam about freely. They are huge in size just like those found at old railway stations. They are capable of nibbling through the plaster of walls and even through the flooring to find a way into the shops where grains are kept. Their burrows are found in areas which are not concreted,” said Mohammad Shahzad, a trader at the market.“We require huge quantities of rat poison and even pesticides to ward off rats and termites. Since a number of grains and pulses are stored there, the market is a major source of food for these pests,” he said.UP polls: Low turnout in Sahibabad, Ghaziabad affected overall polling percentageKeeping the threat from rodents in mind, the district administration has added an extra layer of security for the EVMs. The officials have ordered for rat-kill medicine and pest control to keep the rats at bay and secure the 2,494 EVMs stored at the grain market.Apart from the pest-control layer of security, the district administration has deployed a standard three-layer security cover of paramilitary forces and the civil police. “The district election officer has written to different agencies to make sure arrangements are made to procure rat-kill medicines and pesticides. This is to prevent any damage to EVMs stored at the grain market. Our security personnel and officials are also keeping an eye on the rodents,” said Gynendra Singh, additional district election officer.