You may not get I-cards in time

Even as Pune goes to polls on April 23,it seems the election department will be unable to meet the deadline to issue the mandatory elector’s photo identity card...

Written by Express News Service | Pune | Published:March 8, 2009 12:29 am

Even as Pune goes to polls on April 23,it seems the election department will be unable to meet the deadline to issue the mandatory elector’s photo identity card (EPIC) — as per the Election Commission guidelines — with the required software not functioning.

The department was supposed to issue the EPIC from last month but were unable to begin the process due to technical difficulties,said an officer from the election department. Considering the circumstances,the department said that a decision regarding the issuing of EPIC will be taken in the coming week.

“If the software functioned smooth,the administration would have distributed the photo identity cards to nearly 2.5 lakh voters in the city before the election,” said the officer. “Now,to do it manually will be a daunting task,” he said.

“The software helps associate the old serial numbers with the new ones of the voters whose photograph are available with the election department. The numbers have changed due to the delimitation exercise. And in the absence of the software,there could be a mismatch between the photograph on the card and the details of the voter,” he explained.

“Though the EC directives mention that all voters have to procure their ID cards,the lack of software in the district will affect the process,” said the officer

With 58.96 lakh voters registered in Pune district and photo identity cards given to 29.67 lakh voters,if the software is made availabe,the election officer will scale it up to 4 lakh cards till the day of voting,said the officer.

According to election department officials,the scanning for the four lakh identity cards is almost over. But the process of making the cards has been stuck for want of software. The EPIC is mandatory. The Election Commission in its note,declaring the elections,had said that the photo electoral roll facilitated the easy identification of voters.

The Election Commission,in its guidelines,had decided that a compulsory identification of voters will be made during the Lok Sabha elections. The rules state that the elector’s Photo Identity Card shall be identified through the EPIC only. The percentage of the EPIC coverage throughout the country stands at an average of 82 per cent.

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