The Election Commission (EC) has asked the administrative officers of Punjab to ensure that the forthcoming Assembly polls are conducted in a free and fair manner. Chief Election Commissioner Dr Naseem Zaidi, along with the two election commissioners A K Joti and O P Rawat, on Monday held a meeting with senior superintendents of police, deputy commissioners, range DIGs and zonal IGs of Punjab and asked them to adhere to the rules and regulations of the electoral process.
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The EC team, which is on a three-day visit to Chandigarh, also held a meeting with editors of newspapers and TV channels earlier in the day where their views regarding the conduct of elections were taken. Issues relating to paid news, use of drugs and money in influencing voters and partisan administrative machinery came up for discussion during the meeting.
The EC team also launched three information technology systems namely ‘Samadhan’, ‘Suvidha’ and ‘Sugam’ during the meeting of the deputy commissioners and senior police officers. Dr Zaidi said this single-window platform using technological solutions for quality interactions with the electors, citizens, political parties, civil societies and media would help in ensuring a smooth and transparent election process by making it independent of human influence.
The ECI has also directed that a proper training programme for officials and political parties be provided for effective use of these IT systems. Giving further details, he said that ‘Samadhan’ was a complaint-monitoring system for submission of information, suggestion and complaint, which will identify as to which official is the right authority to deal with it and immediately pass it on to him. The official will get an alert indicating receipt of this submission.
Senior officials will also be able to monitor this platform for disbursal of the complaints and the action taken to resolve it in a time-bound manner. Candidates and political parties can apply on it for permissions for meetings, rallies, vehicles, temporary election office, loudspeakers, helicopters and helipads during election campaign.
‘Suvidha’ is the single-window clearance for permissions related to campaigning and will bring in more transparency in applying, processing and granting of permissions. All permissions to candidates and political parties, except for helicopters, will be granted or refusal communicated within 24 hours of the submission of the application online. Permission for helicopters’ use will be done in 48 hours. All ‘no objection certificates’ from all departments will be obtained by an online system.
The third platform, ‘Sugam’, is an integrated vehicle management system which will facilitate in generating an online log book, payment of fuel and vehicle charges to the owner of the vehicle and transfer of vehicle from one district to another district. It also provides an option for lodging complaints by vehicle owners regarding payments. This will also assist officials to requisition and monitor the management of the vehicle to be used during elections.