Bid to ensure model code of conduct is strictly followed

R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, March 21: The ensuing State Assembly elections will be a massive exercise and around 2.5 lakh persons will be directly involved in the process. Meanwhile, officers of the departments concerned are on the job to ensure that the model code of conduct is strictly followed and the value of seizures made since the announcement of the polls was estimated to the tune of more than Rs 64 crore.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, the spokesman of the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Rahul Chandra Das said around 2.5 lakh officers drawn from the State and Central government departments and public sector undertakings would be directly involved in the whole exercise. He said the number excludes the security personnel belonging to the State police and the Central paramilitary forces who have been deployed to ensure free and fair polls.

The CEO office spokesman said necessary arrangements have been made to conduct the election in a safe and secure manner. Both police and Central paramilitary forces are being deployed, he said, adding that additional forces will be deployed as and when required.

Moreover, to keep a watch on the poll process, webcasting in 50 per cent of the polling stations is being done. The feed will be monitored at the level of the Election Commission of India, besides the offices of the CEO and DEO (district election officer).

Das said arrangements have been made for strict compliance of the model code of conduct. Various agencies like Assam Police, State Excise department, Income Tax department, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Narcotics Control Bureau, static surveillance teams, flying squads and other regulatory agencies have been working round the clock to detect any suspicious movement of cash, liquor, valuables, narcotics, etc., across the poll-bound State.

According to records available, from February 26 to March 16, cash amounting to Rs 12.17 crore has been seized and liquor worth Rs 17.82 crore has been confiscated. Gold and silver ornaments valued at Rs 2.82 crore have also been seized.

Moreover, narcotic drugs like heroin, ganja and brown sugar of around Rs 27.13-crore market value were detected and seized. Apart from this, cigarettes of foreign origin, poppy seeds, contraband tablets having market value of Rs 4.88 crore have also been seized during this period.

The cumulative amount of all these seizures from February 26 to March 16 stands at over Rs 64.84 crore.

To monitor violation of model code, the CEO office has dedicated media monitoring and social media monitoring teams, control room, 24x7 helpline number and an APRO room for wireless communication back-up.

The CEO office is also continuously monitoring the poll-related preparedness at district levels.