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3,663 polling stations marked hypersensitive

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 4 - As a total of 3,663 polling stations in Assam have been designated as hypersensitive and another 7,629 as sensitive, the Election Commission is planning to deploy around 60,000-62,000 security personnel during the forthcoming Assembly polls to ensure that the exercise is completed in a free and fair manner.

Speaking to reporters here today, Chief Electoral Officer, Assam, Vijendra said that there are a total of 24,888 polling stations across the State.

�The Central Election Commission has directed deployment of sufficient number of forces for the polls. Approximately 1.65 lakh civil personnel and around 60,000-62,000 security personnel will be employed for conducting the polls,� he said.

There are 12,190 polling stations in the areas where voting will take place in the first phase on April 4, covering the Barak Valley, hill districts, Upper Assam and parts of North Bank, while there are 12,698 polling stations in the areas which will go to the polls in the second phase on April 11 covering Lower Assam and parts of Central Assam.

Only 12 per cent of the polling stations are in the urban areas, while 88 per cent are located in rural areas.

There are 1.98 crore voters in the State as per the electoral rolls published in January, and of them 95 lakh are female voters, while 6.76 lakh voters are in the age group of 18-19 years.

Vijendra said that registration for enrolment in the list is still on. The number of D-Voters stands at 1,36,448. The coverage of photo IDs stands at 98.6 per cent.

Vijendra said that in 10 constituencies � Silchar, Dhubri, Goalpara, Jalukbari, Guwahati East, Guwahati West, Dispur, Jorhat, Tezpur and Bongaigaon � the Election Commission has decided to use Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs).

Micro-observers will be used in 3,197 polling stations, while videography will be done in 2,549 polling stations and webcasting in 865 polling stations.

�We have also requested the Central Election Commission for 76 general observers, 46 expenditure observers and five police observers,� said Vijendra.

An expenditure ceiling of Rs 28 lakh has been fixed for each candidate in each constituency. Besides, in each constituency one video surveillance team, three flying squads and three static surveillance teams will be deployed.

A toll free number � 1950 � has been set up in the State for lodging election-related complaints.

The Election Commission will use 24,700 vehicles, 600 boats and 10-12 elephants for poll duties. �We have also requested the Home Department to provide us with four helicopters for election-related duties,� Vijendra said.

He said the entire electoral exercise is expected to cost around Rs 130-135 crore in Assam.

Speaking on the occasion, Additional DGP SN Singh said that besides Assam Police personnel, Central forces would also be deployed for election duties and each polling booth would have at least one policeman and one Home Guard. He said operations are on to seize illegal arms and 518 such arms have been seized during the last couple of months.

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