GUWAHATI, April 25 - A three-layer security system has been put in place to ensure proper security of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the strong rooms spread across the State. The seals of the strong rooms will be broken only on May 19 morning in presence of the representatives of the political parties and candidates and election observers for the counting of votes.
Official sources told The Assam Tribune that there are 51 counting centres all over the State, but the total number of strong rooms is over 120 as some of the counting centres have two or more strong rooms.
Sources revealed that immediately after the voting for elections to the Assam Legislative Assembly ended in two phases, the EVMs were brought to the strong rooms under tight security. On the same evening, the strong rooms were sealed in presence of officials engaged in election duty, election observers and representatives of the political parties and candidates. The Election Commission has laid down detailed guidelines for the security of the strong rooms and the same were followed in detail.
CCTV cameras have been installed in all the strong rooms so that security personnel as well as the representatives of the candidates and parties can keep a close watch. A three-layer security ring has been put in place for the security of the strong rooms and there is no possibility of anyone tampering with the EVMs, sources asserted.
The first layer of security of the strong rooms is given by personnel of the Central paramilitary forces deployed in the State specially for the elections. Personnel of the Assam Police battalions provide the second layer of security, while, the third layer, that is the outer most layer of security, is provided by the police forces of respective districts. The concerned district administrations have been directed to provide place within the compound of the strong rooms to the representatives of political parties and candidates so that they can keep a close watch round the clock.
The seals of the strong rooms would be broken only just before the counting of votes on May 19 and the representatives of the political parties and candidates would be allowed to witness the process. The results are expected to be declared by the same afternoon, sources added.
It may be mentioned here that there has been criticism from different quarters for use of school rooms as strong rooms in some parts of the State as it affected classes. However, sources in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer(CEO) refused to comment on the issue and said that it is the responsibility of the concerned district administration to identify proper places as strong rooms and the CEO office is not involved in the process.