Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Tight security ordered for EVMs sent out to states

This year, EVMs with voter-verifiable paper audit trail will be used in all booths

By Pranesh Sarkar in Calcutta
  • Published 23.01.19, 4:37 AM
  • Updated 23.01.19, 9:51 AM
  • a min read
  •  
Sources said around a lakh EVMs had already been sent to Bengal, which has over 77,000 booths (Shutterstock)

The Election Commission on Tuesday ordered tight security for electronic voting machines (EVMs) that have reached states for the general election this summer.

The instructions were issued during a videoconference the poll panel held with officials of 11 states. Bengal was represented by chief electoral officer Aariz Aftab, chief secretary Malay De and home secretary Atri Bhattacharya.

Sources said around a lakh EVMs had already been sent to Bengal, which has over 77,000 booths.

“EVMs have always been kept under proper security. The instructions suggest the poll panel does not want fresh controversy at a time the machines and their use have come under fire from various quarters,” said a senior Bengal official.

The poll panel has defended the use of EVMs and rubbished claims they can be manipulated. The BJP has slammed rivals for claiming the machines can be tampered with.

“There were many EVM-related complaints in recent polls elsewhere in the country, notably in Madhya Pradesh. There have been numerous hacking allegations and the Opposition formed a committee on EVMs after last Saturday’s rally at the Brigade Parade Grounds in Calcutta,” said a source.

This year, EVMs with voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) will be used in all booths.

“The special instructions on EVMs have been issued as they are in the custody of district magistrates. There have been allegations from across the country of EVMs being mishandled at the district or lower levels,” said the source.

“For Bengal, there is another dimension. The BJP has repeatedly complained to the poll panel against the alleged partisan role of a section of officials,” the source added.

A district magistrate in Bengal said round-the-clock security had been provided for EVMs. “We have CCTVs and the warehouses are locked in the presence of representatives of political parties. So the EVMs are already under tight security.”

Sources said that Bengal’s large districts, such as Murshidabad, had more than one warehouse to store EVMs. The smaller districts have one each. 

Also Read