SILCHAR, April 10 - Digital technologies have permeated into almost every aspect of our lives. There is an increasing dependency among the users of digital technologies to order books, apparels, file tax returns and apply for passports.
In Cachar district, this tendency of using digital technologies was directed to ensure safe and smooth voting during the recently-held first phase of the Assembly elections which ended on a peaceful note on April 4.
Initiated by the Cachar district administration and developed by the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Silchar, a specially designed mobile application titled �Poll Friend� was introduced as a pilot run for the first time during the elections here.
Talking to The Assam Tribune on the necessity to introduce such an application, Cachar Deputy Commissioner S Vishwanathan on Saturday said that ever since the dates for the elections were announced by the Election Commission of India, it was decided that the entire procedure must be carried out in a peaceful manner and there must not develop a situation to host re-polling at any polling stations.
�Our objective was to track the movement of the EVMs from the point of distribution till it is returned by the polling officials at the strong rooms after the voting process is over. Also, we wanted to aid the Presiding Officers who had the primary data and were stationed in far-off locations. That is where the idea to come up with a mobile application with which the Presiding Officers can disseminate information from the polling station easily struck our minds and we approached NIT Silchar for technical assistance in developing the idea,� Vishwanathan said, adding that based on the report on the utilisation of the application sent to the Election Commission of India, VN Shukla, Director of Information Technology of the Election Commission of India lauded this effort and said that the ECI will seriously give a thought on adopting the application after the elections are over in the State.
Further, appreciating the cooperation from NIT Silchar, Vishwanathan thanked Prof NV Deshpande, Director of the Institute, Dr Wasim Arif, a Professor in the Department of Electronics and Communication and their team for developing the user-friendly mobile application.
He added to say that the team from NIT Silchar gave training to 105 sector officers and 1281 presiding officers on how to use the application.
Interestingly, the entire project was carried out without even a single penny being spent. Prerna Sharma, Assistant Commissioner of Cachar said that the server of NIT Silchar was used and also SoS options were included in the application for exchange of messages as well.
�Not only were the EVM�s tracked through the application, but emergency situations could also be detected, courtesy the real time reporting of the data,� Sharma maintained.
Moreover, the Presiding Officers could also send the status of polling percentage after every two hours through the application, for which they were allotted separate sim cards, which was another major objective behind launching the application, she added.
Expressing happiness for having been a part of such an important endeavour, Harshwardhan Laddha, Yogesh Chowhan and Aklank Jain, final year students of NIT Silchar who were mainly responsible for designing and developing the application, said �it was a very challenging, yet a thrilling experience for us. It is good to see that now people are talking about it.�
Prof NV Deshpande said that his team is ready to extend technical assistance if and when the ECI decides to adopt the application for future use.