BHUBANESWAR: The State Election Commission (SEC) on Saturday asked the district collectors and SPs to submit master plans on how to conduct panchayat elections in the State in view of the challenge posed by the huge spike in Covid cases by January 28.
State Election Commissioner AP Padhi on Saturday held a meeting with top officials of the State government including collectors and SPs to review preparations for the panchayat elections in view of the prevailing Covid situation.
Padhi told mediapersons that the meeting was held in two rounds with the Chief Secretary, the Director General of Police, senior officials of the State government and SEC. In the first round of the meeting, discussion focused on strict enforcement of the Covid guidelines at every stage of panchayat election.
The SEC said that the officials discussed how to enforce the protocols during filing of nomination papers, scrutiny of papers, campaigning, polling, counting and at dispersal centres. Opinion of collectors and SPs were also sought on the issue, he added. Padhi said the SEC will issue a set of guidelines on enforcing the Covid norms during the elections. The second round of the meeting was held with DGP and ADG (Law and Order) with inputs from the collectors, SPs, range IGs, range DIGs.
The SEC asked district officials to focus on strict adherence of all guidelines during the election as the process of filing the nomination papers will start from January 17. DGP Sunil Bansal told mediapersons that the panchayat polls to be conducted amidst the Covid pandemic poses a challenge before the police administration. Stating that steps have already been taken to enforce Covid guidelines at the ground level, the DGP said the collectors and SPs mostly spoke about practical difficulties faced in the course of holding the election.