Damaged in transit, over 1,500 EVMs recalled in Anand district

Seal

Congress raises a stink, collector says no 'malafide intention'

The district electoral officer (DEO) of Anand has recalled all the 1,569 electronic voting machines (EVMs) from seven constituencies of the district after it came to light that paper seals of a few EVMs were broken during transportation.

Early this month, DEO Sandeep Kumar received reports from poll officials that seal of 473 EVMs sent to Borsad, Sojitra and Anklav constituencies were damaged during transportation.

These seals of pink-coloured papers were applied to all the EVMs after engineers of Bharat Electronic Limited, a government of India undertaking which manufactures the machines, had conducted first-level checking and declared them "OK".

According to guidelines of Election Commission, they are not meant to be opened by anybody till the entire election process gets over.

"After zero randomisation on November 3 and 4, we had sent 1,569 EVMs to respective strong rooms in seven constituencies. However, we received reports on November 5 and 6 that seals of 473 EVMs were damaged during transportation. After intimating the office of CEO (Chief Electoral Officer) of Gujarat and seeking its directive, we recalled all 1,569 EMVs to district strong room on November 9," Kumar told The Indian Express on Tuesday.

The DEO said the EVMs sent to constituencies were meant for training of polling officials and voting, besides some being reserved in case of technical snags in any other machines.

"It was an accident and the majority of EVMs whose seals got damaged were control units (parts of EVMs that store polling data). The CEO has already instructed BHEL to conduct FLC of all the 473 EVMs and others that we shall get from other districts," he said.

"After checking, we shall again do zero randomisation and allocate EVMs to constituencies. The preparedness for the polls will not be affected as we have enough time," Kumar, who is also the collector of Anand, said.

... contd.

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