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Single window for rally permits

- Applications will be disposed of in 36 hours

Jorhat, March 21: The Election Commission has directed district magistrates and returning officers of parliamentary constituencies to set up a single window to promptly grant permission to political parties and candidates to hold meetings, rallies, processions or install temporary helipads.

Commission secretary Sumit Mukherjee in a directive issued yesterday to all chief electoral officers of the states and Union Territories has asked them to instruct the district magistrates and returning officers to create the single window in their offices. In certain districts, the district magistrates have also been designated as returning officers.

The commission missive, which has been sent to the districts today, said any kind of permission, if applied with required information and documents, would have to be granted by the permission cells within 36 hours of receipt of an application that has obtained the necessary clearance from departments like fire brigade, police, land owning agencies, among others.

The directive stated that all district magistrates should set up a well-equipped permission cell within their offices under single-window clearance. Each cell should have necessary infrastructure such as a computer, photocopy machine, scanner and telephone.

The cell will be run by dedicated staff who will provide photocopies of applications (seeking various types of permission) received to all nodal officers of departments/agencies concerned, who would be deputed at these offices for timely action for obtaining clearance from their respective departments.

The poll panel letter said each cell would have an in-charge to supervise its functioning and an officer of the rank of a deputy superintendent of police to be designated by the district superintendent of police.

According to the directive, a political party/candidate seeking any kind of permission from the district magistrate has to apply for the same to the in-charge of the cell at least 48 hours before the event along with details of the expenditure plan according to the format prepared by the poll panel.

The in-charge will maintain a register to keep records of the applications received and enter details about “no-objections” granted by departments or agencies concerned with date and time of the same.

Regarding application seeking permission for setting up temporary helipads, a political party or a candidate would have to file the same at least 24 hours before landing of the chopper. The application should have details of the travel plan of the star campaigner along with names of persons accompanying him/her in the helicopter.

Jorhat district administration sources said in areas falling under the Jorhat returning officer, to enable early processing, applications will also be accepted at the revenue circle offices in the district and will be sent to the district magistrate’s office.