Mysuru: In its endeavour to conduct free, fair and transparent Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission of India (ECI), through the Mysuru District Administration, has initiated innumerable measures and has set up different mechanisms and practices along with issuing of various instructions and guidelines to tackle security issues related to storage of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Control Units and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trial (VVPAT) machines in the Strong Rooms.
In Mysuru, Nanjaraja Bahadur Choultry on Vinoba Road has been taken over by the District Administration and Police. EVMs and other election paraphernalia are stored here. Interestingly, the Choultry has been renovated by Public Works Department based on the guidelines issued by the ECI.
The sections of the Choultry that will store the election machinery is called “EVM and VVPAT Storage Room” and today, the Election Officers were completing the process of marking, classifying and packing the EVMs, VVPAT and Control Units and segregating them based on the Polling Booths for the Mysuru-Lok Sabha Constituency. The entire Choultry is in the high-security zone and entry of public has been barred.
Two big halls are being used to store the ballot units and the control units and the halls have been sealed with false ceiling and the doors and windows have been sealed with plywood sheets. Election work at the Choultry began in the month of January this year way ahead of the poll schedule being announced.
The strong rooms have only one entry point and double lock system. All other entry points of the strong rooms (including windows) have been sealed in such a way that no one has access inside the strong rooms. The entry point of strong room having EVMs and other machines have CCTV coverage round the clock.
CHECKING OF MACHINES
Regarding the EVMs, the first level checking of the EVMs are under progress and once checked, the units are packed and segregated.
The District Administration has deputed over 20 engineers from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and as part of the first level checking, 16 dummy votes are being cast by the election officers via every EVM and verified through VVPAT. The ballot unit and control units are then sealed.
As part of the first-level testing, all switches of the ballot units are tested and VVPAT is also verified to ensure that there will not be any confusion at the time of the election.
From the electric wiring to the roof, officers are ensuring that the EVMs will not be accessed by any outsiders.
Only selected staff and the engineers are allowed to visit the Choultry premises and they have been provided with identity cards.
The packing and segregation of the machines were being headed by Karnataka Exhibition Authority CEO Girish who is the Nodal Officer and assisted by Revenue Inspector Nizamuddin and over 35 election staff.
Apart from the strong rooms, there is an exclusive Monitoring Room where CCTV camera visuals are beamed and monitored and First Level Checking Hall where machines are brought and checked for efficiency and functional mechanisms. 16 CCTV cameras surround the Nanjaraja Bahadur Choultry and are keeping a strict vigil 24/7.
For the Mysuru-Kodagu Lok Sabha Constituency, there are 1,813 polling booths, 4,000 ballot units (EVMs), 3,500 control Units, and 3,000 VVPATs. Once the marking and segregation process is completed and the nominations are filed after the notification is issued on Mar. 19, photos of candidates will be affixed in the EVMs against their party symbols.