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Odisha Govt Agencies Flout ECI Guidelines

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Voters Face Untold Misery and Public Funds Wasted

BHUBANESWAR: The third phase of polls in Odisha on May 25 revealed significant irregularities due to the lack of coordination and indifferent attitude of government agencies like TPCODL and WATCO, despite claims by the State Chief Electoral Officer.

In Pipili, under the Puri Lok Sabha constituency, Odisha Police Constable Gitanjali Pradhan (30) was critically injured by an electric shock. She was using a toilet with a temporary connection and no bulb. The electric wire snapped and fell on the iron door, which Gitanjali touched in the darkness. Initially, she was rushed to Pipili Community Health Centre, then shifted to Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar as her condition worsened.

Odisha Govt Agencies Flout ECI Guidelines

Voters face untold misery

Sheer wastage of public funds alleged

Locals blamed TPCODL’s negligence for the incident. Experts noted that her shoes saved her life. They demanded the Election Commission of India (ECI) take action against TPCODL’s criminal negligence.

Despite instructions from Odisha CEO Nikunja Dhal for adequate heat safety measures, polling booths lacked fans. Voters stood in long queues under torrid heat and humidity, causing many elderly voters to faint or suffer heat-related ailments.

WATCO also failed to provide drinking water in many booths. Voters without water bottles suffered. Elderly voter Bishnu Mishra argued that if crores of rupees are spent on elections, basic necessities like drinking water should be provided, especially during the peak summer season with temperatures soaring to 40 degrees Celsius. He called on WATCO to answer the ECI for their failure.

It is no surprise that the heat took its toll when a woman election official Sujata Mitra (50) in charge of polling in the Cuttack Barabati Assembly segment died at the SCB Medical College Hospital during treatment. In Bhapur in Nayagarh district an elderly woman Kumudini Dalei(65|) died after she had to stand in queue for hours due to an EVM glitch at a polling booth.

Besides, EVM glitches were reported from multiple booths in the State which caused immense hardships to the voters as they had to wait for hours to cast their votes. As adequate awareness was not created about not carrying mobile phones and wearing smart watches, many people who arrived at the booth with these devices had a hard time as they were denied entry into the booths. Those came from far off places were in a dilemma where to keep the smartphones and watches are no provisions were made for their safe custody.

But the million-dollar question is if these electronic devices were not allowed what was the purpose of having selfie points in the polling booths. Though heavy security arrangements was parroted , violent incidents were reported from many polling booths in the State as the ruling party supporters wreaked havoc and Odisha Police personnel remained silent supporters.

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