Following the EVM beep scare in Jalandhar on Tuesday,the Election Commission of India (EC) has issued elaborate directions on security of the strong rooms,where EVM machines are kept after polling.
The EC has listed 14 conditions that the district commissioners (DC) who are also the district returning officers of the Commission have been asked to follow in order to improve security at the strong rooms. Every DC in the state has received such a letter dated February 14.
The rules include:
The strong rooms are to be kept under double lock systems. One key of this lock should be in the possession of the district election officer and other with the returning officer of the concerned constituency.
Apart from two-cordoned security cover,security arrangements have to be ensured round-the-clock for the strong rooms.
While central paramilitary forces should man the innermost perimeter immediately outside the strong room,the state armed police should man the outermost perimeter.
The EC has ordered the respective DMs to intimate in writing to all contesting candidates to depute their representatives to keep a close watch on security arrangement of the strong rooms. They should be allowed to stay outside the inner perimeter at a location,which enables them to view the entry points of the strong room. As far as possible,facilities such as proper shade,drinking water,etc may be provided to them.
In case,at a given spot,there is no way to directly view the strong room,CCTVs may be arranged.
A control room adjacent to the strong room should be operative round-the-clock.
A gazetted officer,along with a police officer,should monitor the security arrangements and also make sufficient arrangement of fire extinguishers near and inside the strong room.
To check the movement of persons at the strong room,the ECI has ordered that all entry points (doors) of strong rooms should be under constant videography by using web cams and laptops.
The ROs have been asked to visit the storage campus (up to the inner perimeter only) every day in the morning and evening and check the log book and videography and send a report to the district election officer.
Phone numbers of CEO,additional CEO,DEC in-charge and the DEO/SP/cop/ROs concerned should be given to the candidates to contact the officials in case of any need.
In case the strong room is located at the district headquarters,the district election officer should do this job daily.