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Pradeep Singh

With an aim to ensure smooth conduct of the Panchayat elections in Odisha, the State Election Commission (SEC) on Wednesday issued orders to impose ban on sale and distribution of liquor 48 hours before the commencement of the polls. 

The restriction will come to force two days before the polling and remain valid throughout the entire day of voting till the next day during each of the five phases of election.

The SEC has directed officials to ensure that liquor is neither sold or served at hotel, nor distributed in the region where the voting will take place. The Commission has also directed to take stern action against those violating the norms

Moreover, the ban has also been imposed on transportation of alcohol to the poll-bound regions during the stipulated period.

Besides, restrictions have also been imposed on taking licensed firearms or any type of weapons near polling booths during voting.

Among other guidelines by SEC for the upcoming Panchayat polls: 

- No one except the authorised persons are allowed to stay near the polling booths

- Paid leave for government and private employees to allow them to exercise their franchise

- 3-day special CL (casual leave) for employees staying far away from their voting region

- Closure of Court on polling day at places where voting will take place

The three-tier Panchayat elections in Odisha will be held in five phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24, 2022. The polling will begin at 7 am and continue till 1 pm. 

The counting of votes, which will be done at all Block headquarters, will be held on February 26, 27 and 28.

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