The Election Commission of India has approved the programme for rationalization of polling stations for the State of Punjab. This program is primarily aimed at removing deficiency in any polling station regarding the building, location or convenience of voters. In some places due to large number of voters new polling stations would be set up.
Giving details of the activities to be carried out, the Chief Electoral Officer V. K. Singh said that preparation of Preliminary proposals by RO have been made and submitted to DEO. Publication of the draft lists of polling stations would be made on April 8, 2016. He also said that the copies of the proposals of polling stations after doing the modifications would be supplied to local branches of all recognized political parties on April 23, 2016.
After that the draft lists would be put on public domain on April 30, 2016 for inviting further suggestions, if any.
Adding further he said that on the basis of the suggestions made by the public, decision would be taken on May 5, 2016. A meeting consisting of the representatives of the recognized political parties, MLAs and MPs would be held on May 12, 2016 to discuss the draft list of the Polling stations in consideration with the suggestions received by the general public. On May 21, 2016, the decision would be taken on the suggestions made by the representatives of the political parties and MPs and MLAs after physical verification of the suggested locations.
Giving further details of the fixing the norms for the rationalization of the polling stations, V.K. Singh said that 100% physical verification of polling stations will be done by the ARO of concerned assembly. Polling stations should be located in Schools; Government or Semi-government buildings. All existing auxiliary polling stations are to be converted into main polling stations. He also said that generally in one building maximum 2 polling stations in rural and 4 polling stations in urban areas would be set up. New polling stations would be set up, if the number of electors was more than 1200 in rural areas and 1400 in urban areas. All basic minimum facilities should be available in the polling station building like as electric connection, ramps, toilet, drinking water, shed to shelter the voters, telephone connection etc. Polling station building should be within the polling area. No polling station should be located in Police Stations, Hospitals, Temples or Places having religious significance. Political party office should not within 200 metres of the polling stations. The minimum area of polling station room must be 20 sq. metres. A Voter should not travel more than 2 kms for casting his/her vote. Polling station should not be set up in the first floor and above.
He also said that a meeting was held with all the recognized National and State Political parties and they have been requested to submit their suggestions, objections for rationalization of polling stations to the Returning Officer of the Assembly Constituency or to the District Election Officer concerned and co-operate the BLOs, EROs and District Administration for the purification of the electoral rolls and rationalization of polling stations. Similar meetings with all the recognized National and State Political parties were also being held at Districts and Assembly level. The representatives of all the political parties have also agreed to cooperate with the Election Commission in this regard.
In addition to above ECI has also launched NERP to purify the electoral rolls by including all eligible voters and removing all ineligible names from the roll. Such removal is required mainly for removal of names of dead and shifted voters. For this program Booth Level Officers were visiting door to door from 04.04.2016 to 04.05.2016 to verify voters’ particulars entered in the electoral rolls and photograph of voters. During above period the BLOs would also verify the errors, duplicate entries, repeated EPIC Numbers and dead voters, so that the wrong entries may be deleted from the electoral rolls.
Singh urged the youth of the state to get themselves enrolled as voters if they have attained the age of 18 years or above on 01.01.2016 then the required Form No. 6 for enrolment has got be filled by them. In case of duplicate vote or deletion of name then Form No. 7 has to be filled and for any correction Form No. 8 has to be filled. Similarly for transposition of name to other part of the same constituency Form No. 8A was required to be filled and submitted to Booth Level Officer or Electoral Registration Officer with in the above mentioned period.
He has also appealed to the general public, political parties, sitting MPs/MLAs, Ex MPs/MLAs to submit their suggestions, objections for rationalization of polling stations to the Returning Officer of the Assembly Constituency or to the District Election Officer concerned on or before 30.04.2016.
He also said that preparation was being done in keeping the forth coming Punjab Assembly Election 2017. This is the right time to remove any and all inaccuracies in the Electoral Roll. Once this process is completed it will be very difficult to amend rolls near election time. No Objections/Suggestions will be entertained at the time of elections. Hence everyone is requested to check the electoral roll which is widely available with political parties, BLOs, SDM and Tehsil offices and on internet also. If any action is required then Claims & Objections in Form-6,7,8,8A be submitted to the Booth Level Officer or Electoral Registration Officer concerned now during this current exercise.