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Stay at post, EC tells officials

Calcutta, Feb. 19: Government and police officials involved in election work will not be allowed to leave their districts without the permission of the chief electoral officer.

After a meeting with district magistrates at Writers’ Buildings, Debashis Sen, the chief electoral officer, said: “As desired by the state chief secretary, I (have) told the DMs that no official or officer doing poll-related work in the districts can leave his station. If at all they need to leave, they have to take my permission. This applies to a person holding the rank of inspector-general right down to the officer-in-charge. Similarly, this would hold true for a divisional commissioner down to block development officer.”

This is the first time the chief electoral officer has made such an announcement. Earlier, the district magistrate had to be kept informed. The order comes into effect immediately.

The move was deemed necessary after complaints from voters and political parties that officials involved in election work went missing from their districts without notifying higher authorities.

Sen said that in keeping with the model code of conduct, transfers would not be allowed without his consent after February 20. “I have told the DMs that transfers and postings should be done by tomorrow as the (Election) Commission has announced February 20 as the deadline,’’ he said.

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