20,000 personnel for Bengal counting: EC

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Kolkata, May 18 (IANS) As many as 20,000 personnel will on Thursday be deployed for counting the votes polled in the West Bengal assembly elecions, a senior official said.

“There will be 312 strong rooms, 394 counting halls, 294 counting observers and 90 counting venues across the state. The observers have arrived. Around 20,000 personnel from both central and state government will be deployed,” additional chief electoral officer Dibyendu Sarkar said.

Counting begins at 8 a.m.

Two micro-observers will be present In each hall.

“Moreover, one micro-bserver will be there at each counting table,” he said.

Three security cordons would be put in place, he said.

“The first is the 100 metre periphery and is called pedestrian zone (no cars). Second cordon begins at the entrance to counting premise and from this layer onwards no mobile is allowed. At this level major frisking will be carried out. The third cordon begins at entrance to counting hall and will be manned by central forces,” Sarkar said.

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As many as 78 companies of central forces will be pressed into service to provide security during counting proper, he said.

Trends and results will be available from 8 a.m.

“No police personnel are allowed inside counting halls,” Sarkar said.

Counting will begin with postal ballots. “We have taken adequate measures to deliver postal ballots to counting stations before the commencement of the counting. Postal ballots delivered after 8 a.m. to counting station will not be considered for counting,” Sarkar said.

“In case of malfunctioned EVMs, poll personnel usually change the power packs first to make EVMs functional. After changing power packs, if EVMs still malfunction, the results can still be retrieved from them through auxiliary display unit,” he added.



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