Ready for counting of votes, says Odisha CEO Nikunja Bihari Dhal

At least 70 centres have been set up across the state for the counting of votes, said the CEO.
Authorised visitors register themselves before entering the strong room ahead of vote counting at BJB Autonomous College in Bhubaneswar, on Monday
Authorised visitors register themselves before entering the strong room ahead of vote counting at BJB Autonomous College in Bhubaneswar, on Monday Photo | Express

BHUBANESWAR: All arrangements are in place for counting of 76,000 EVM control units of the four-phase general elections in the state on June 4, said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nikunja Bihari Dhal on Monday.

Briefing the media, the CEO said over 2.5 crore voters exercised their franchise in the general elections this year. At least 70 centres have been set up across the state for the counting of votes.

Around 1.47 lakh postal ballots received this year will be counted first at 8 am after which the EVM counting will start at around 8.30 am. Both postal ballots and EVM votes will be counted in 69 centres. Only postal ballots will be counted at one centre in Chhatrapur.

Dhal further informed that a total 3,589 tables have been set up at these 69 venues for EVM counting. At least 1,799 tables will be for counting of votes polled in Assembly elections and 1,790 for Lok Sabha elections.

Eight Assembly seats - Rairangpur, Saraskana, Aul, Chitrakonda, Patkura, Bisamcuttack, Loisingha and Mohana - will have more than 30 rounds of counting. In the rest 139 seats, the counting rounds will be less than 30.

The Election Commission has engaged adequate number of staff at the counting venues for smooth conduct of the exercise. Apart from 21 returning officers for Lok Sabha and 131 assistant returning officers (AROs) for Assembly constituencies, the CEO said there will be deployment of 517 additional AROs for Parliamentary and 712 additional AROs for Assembly seats.

Besides, each EVM counting table will have a counting supervisor, an assistant and a micro-observer. Accordingly, 5,277 counting supervisors, 5,233 assistants and 5,396 micro-observers have been engaged.

Because of the prevailing hot and humid weather conditions, Dhal said all counting centres have been air-conditioned. Provision of dedicated fire-fighting teams and generator backup for uninterrupted power supply has been made at these centres. There will also be paramedical staff, ambulance and other measures in view of the existing weather conditions.

For security, the counting centres will be under CCTV surveillance. Besides, there will be deployment of additional 89 companies of CAPF in and around the counting centres to maintain law and order.

The CEO said dedicated inter-leased internet lines have been linked with each counting centre to facilitate dissemination of real-time results. “The district collectors have been asked to arrange display of results at public places including malls and market places. We are fully prepared to conduct the counting smoothly,” he added.

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