Poll panel to provide internet facilities to net violence

The State Election Commission (SEC) has decided to provide internet facilities at 59,000 polling booths so that polling officers and poll observers could contact the officials of the commission directly in case of any untoward incident.

Senior officials of the commission said it would be for the first time that panchyat election in the state will be monitored by web-based tools, which would check the violence.

During the 2008 panchyat election, there was widespread violence and around 58 people were injured and two were killed during the political clashes. To combat such menace, the commission has decided to provide internet facilities in all the booths so that online chat could be conducted if they could not contact on mobile phone.

This year, around 3 lakh polling personnel will be deployed in 59,000 polling booths. They will be given training soon after the issue of notification, said SEC officials.

A senior officer on condition of anonymity, however, said that since there is lack of manpower this year, the SEC has decided to shift many government officers from some of the north Bengal districts to south Bengal. During 2011 Assembly election in West Bengal, the Election Commission had decided to videograph voting at about eight per cent of the sensitive polling stations across West Bengal in the crucial six-phase elections.

During the Assembly election, there was four-pronged surveillance ó videography, webcasting and deployment of Central forces.

Officials, however, feel that although it is necessary to videograph sensitive booths, but considering lack of manpower it is difficult to videograph sensitive booths during panchyat election.

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