EC strengthens force multipliers for Bengal’s first phase polls

Kolkata, March 29 (IANS) To keep a close watch on the polling process in the first phase of the West Bengal assembly elections, the Election Commission on Tuesday said it has put in place multiple monitoring mechanisms like like webcasting and video cameras in the polling booths.

“Apart from deploying central forces, the commission has arranged force multipliers in the polling stations and sensitive areas of the 18 assembly constituencies for the first phase of the election to monitor the poll process,” additional chief electoral officer Dibyendu Sarkar said.

Balloting for the 18 constituencies — nine in Purulia, three in Bankura and six in West Medinipur district — would be conducted on April 4.

Measures of force multipliers include micro observers, camera use, live webcasting, CCTV surveillance and live monitoring of sensitive areas, the official said.

“There will be 4,945 polling stations, including five auxiliary stations, in the 18 constituencies, in which 675 micro observers, 157 webcasting arrangements, 799 cameras and 198 CCTVs have been deployed,” Sarkar said.

He said the figures were tentative and would vary according to the demand and reports of the observers.

Apart from the measures in the polling stations, the EC has arranged live monitoring of sensitive (LMS) areas through camera-installed moving vehicles.

“There will be 11 LMS mostly in the areas where internet connectivity is relatively better in the 18 constituencies,” he said.

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