Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: The Chief Electoral Officer of Odisha, Sushil Kumar Lohani on Wednesday made a slew of announcements for the upcoming  byelection to the Pipili Assembly constituency in the State slated to be held on April 17.

Addressing a press conference, Lohani said the number of booths have been increased this year from 271 to 348 to restrict the total number of voters per each booth at 1000. This will help in enforcing Covid social distancing protocols in a better manner.

  • The EVMs and VVPATs have also been increased by one and half times more than what used to be roped in during the elections.
  • Apart from voter ID cards, 11 other documents of identification can be used for verification during the poll.
  • All Covid guidelines like conduct of poll activities including nomination, casting of votes will be carried out in big halls.
  • A Nodal Officer will be appointed to oversee strict execution of the pandemic protocols.
  • Postall ballots will be distributed to people above 80 years of age, people with disability and positive/suspected cases of Covid 19.
  • But this time the ECI has made it mandatory for PWDs to produce health certificate before casting votes.
  • Proper Covid guidelines like sanitization of booths, thermal screening of voters, use of masks will be strictly enforced.
  • Confirmed positive and suspected cases will be issued tokens and they will be allowed to cast their franchise during the last hour of the polling.
  • All poll officials  will be treated as frontline Corona warriors and they will be vaccinated on priority basis.