The Telegraph
Saturday , October 6 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nalanda tops voter card success list

Patna, Oct. 5: Nalanda, the chief minister’s native district, has achieved the unique distinction of identity cards for all voters, while Patna features at the bottom of the list.

In Nalanda Lok Sabha constituency, electoral photo identity cards (EPICs) have been delivered to 17,62,921 across seven Assembly constituencies — Asthawan, Biharsharif, Rajgir, Islampur, Hilsa, Nalanda and Harnaut.

Nalanda district magistrate, who also acts as district election officer, Sanjay Agarwal said: “It is a huge success to equip every voter with electoral photo identity card. It took us two-and-a-half years to achieve this goal.”

About the strategy, Agarwal said: “It was surely a tedious job to provide EPICs to nearly two lakh voters. Around 2,000 booth-level officers were deputed for door-to-door campaign. Many voters had their passport size photographs and our photographer clicked pictures for those who did not have it.”

He added: “Besides daily monitoring system, we also set up camps at all the blocks and panchayats to make voters aware about the importance of an EPIC. The district administration also ensured that EPIC should be delivered to the voters whose pictures were clicked or those who handed over their photographs to the booth-level officers. The officials were also given rewards as encouragement,” said Agarwal.

About the importance of EPIC, he said: “Besides EPIC, one could use any other prescribed identity cards to cast his/her vote. But now, according to the Election Commission norms, EPIC is mandatory for voting rights.”

The data given by state chief electoral officer Sudhir Kumar Rakesh reveals that Patna is at the end of the list with only 88.12 per cent EPIC holders followed by Araria (89.16), Muzaffarpur (89.29), Nawada (89.97) and Madhubani (89.98), respectively.

All other districts have crossed 90 per cent EPIC holder and some even surpassed 95. Sahrasa district has nearly reached the target with 99.36 voters having been equipped with EPICs.

Chief electoral officer Rakesh said: “It’s correct that Nalanda is the first district in the state where every voter has been given an EPIC. After Nalanda, according to the latest report, even Rohtas and Supaul districts have achieved the goal with 100 per cent EPIC holders.

As things stands now, 93.7 per cent of total eligible voters in the state are having EPICs and by January 2013, every eligible voter in the state will have an electoral photo identity card.”