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Mohali to train election staff in new norms from January 16

Training sessions, officials said, shall start from January 16 and will deal primarily on ways to keep the polling staff safe from contracting the infection, while also telling them ways in which Covid patients can vote.

Written by Jagdeep Singh Deep | Mohali |
January 13, 2022 3:51:31 am
Around 1700 officials and employees will be on poll duty, says District Electoral Officer

The rising number of Covid-19 cases has posed a new challenge for the administration, with officials now looking for ways to train their staff for the polling process, while following Covid-appropriate behaviour, for the upcoming state elections that are scheduled to be held on February 10.

Training sessions, officials said, shall start from January 16 and will deal primarily on ways to keep the polling staff safe from contracting the infection, while also telling them ways in which Covid patients can vote.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Isha Kalia, who is also the District Electoral Officer said that around 1700 officials and the employees shall be deputed for poll duty, and keeping them safe from contracting any infection was very important.

“The training schedule had been divided into four shifts, and each will be of one and half hours, with a 30-minute break. All the four sessions shall have 400 people each attending. Thus has been done to minimise the risk of contracting the virus,” she said.

Explaining further, the DC said that the training sessions shall be conducted in the classrooms in schools where social distancing shall also be strictly adhered to.

Prodded about challenges for conducting elections in the times of Covid, the DC said that there were a number of issues, which include the training of staff and making backup plans in case any member of the polling staff tested positive.

“We will have a backup team too. But the backup plan shall be finalised later, on a date closer to the actual elections,” the DC added.

When asked that whether people tested positive could vote, the DC explained that any person who was Covid positive but wanted to vote could apply for Form 12-D, which would be given till January 26 and could then vote through postal ballots.

“After issuing the form, a three-member team shall go to the home of the Covid patient. The three member team will include a videographer. We shall also inform representatives of the political party about the voting. The team shall go inside the home where the Covid positive voter shall cast their vote. Such votes shall be collected from February 7 to February 13. If a person has applied for form 12-D , then they will only be able to cast postal ballots and will not be allowed to enter polling stations,” the DC explained.

She added that the entire process will be transparent and shall be videographed. The polling team shall make two visits at the voter’s residence and inform him in advance. Voters who are more than 80 years old and people with disabilities too will be able to cast postal ballots.

This time a special plan for bio-medical waste was also prepared by the administration and the PPE kits shall be given to polling staff.

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