Gangtok, 03 August (IPR): In keeping with the direction of Election Commission of India (ECI), a workshop on First Level Checking (FLC) of EVMs and VVPATs for DEOs and Nodal Officers of the State was held at the conference hall of the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in Baluwakhani today.
The daylong workshop was organized by the Office of the CEO which was attended by CEO, Sikkim, Mr. R. Telang, District Collector (South), Mr. Prabhakar Verma, SDMs, Under Secretary and other officials from Election Department.
Under Secretary, ECI, Mr. O.P. Sahani, and National Level Master Trainer, Joint Secretary, Government of Himachal Pradesh, Mr. Virendra Sharma, were the resource persons of the workshop.
Addressing the gathering, CEO, Sikkim, Mr. Telang, said that Election Commission of India has presented people with an opportunity to understand the technicalities associated with EVMs and VVPATs.
“Lot of speculation goes on if we do not know the truth and it is very important to understand what the real facts are,” he said.
Mr Telang stressed that every aspect is crucial and understanding the technical areas help us in broadening our knowledge so as to be able to clarify to the general public and political parties during their questions and doubts.
During the session, Under Secretary, ECI, Mr. Sahani, gave detailed presentation on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and VVPAT machines. Technical advice to build specification and design of newer version were also touched upon.
He explained that the new version ensures safety and also talked about the various security features of the machines. Various technical rules and regulations which were framed by ECI e.g., how machines were transported from manufacturing units to all the CEO offices across the country, etc., were explained. He further said that any movement of EVMS and VVPATs is mandatory to track through ETS. These machines can be transported only on GPS tracking vehicles or sealed vehicles what are precautions to be taken during the storage of EVM in strong rooms.
He elaborated on complete FLC process like complete physical check-up of machines, mock poll of all EVMs/VVPATs, sharing all the records with political parties and how these machines are stored in strong room under 24 hours security.
National Level Master Trainer, Mr. Sharma, spoke on First Level Checking of EVM and VVPATs machines. He also mentioned that technical, physical & functional examination of the machines will be done by the engineers of BEL or ECIL who manufactured the machines.
Speaking on the responsibilities of CEO, Mr. Sharma said that CEO must prepare a timely FLC Schedule & Coordinate timely Start/completion of FLC. He also instructed for deputation of Officials from CEO’s office to ensure proper FLC training, visits during actual FLC conduct and regular monitoring of FLC in all the districts.
He also highlighted various responsibilities of DEOs in districts, and further said DEOs are overall In-charge and responsible for the conduct of FLC in the districts, they are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for FLC and ensuring smooth conduct of FLC in their respective places.
“It is the duty of DEOs to arrange sensitisation programme for political parties to maximise their participation in the FLC process, DEOs must ensure proper preparation for conducting of FLC during the ECI observers visit, prior to start of FLC. DEOs must monitor the rejections, quality and progress of FLC through frequent visits to FLC hall, after completion of FLC of CU/BU/VVPAT and marking in ETS, DEOs should submit Certificate to CEO,” said Mr. Sharma.
During the programme, hands on training session was also held where participants put forth their doubts and other queries related to newer version of machines to the resource persons and engineers of BEL and ECIL which were satisfactory clarified by them pertaining to issues raised by the participants.