In a first in the country, the Election Commission of India in coordination with State Government has come up with a proposal to install CCTVs at all polling booths to ensure the assembly elections are held in a free-and-fair manner in the poll-bound Telangana.Under the proposal, all 32,572 polling booths will be equipped with CCTV cameras with internet connection. In case the net access is not available, data cards will be provided to connect the CCTVs with central monitoring system to be established at ECI office in New Delhi and also in Telangana Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) office in Hyderabad. The new facility will help the EC to assess the polling pattern in every booth from time to time and also address technical or other poll related difficulties, if any notices, during the polling hours.
Officials said that the ECI officials mooted the proposal to install CCTVs in every booth in video conference conducted with state Chief Secretary SK Joshi, DGP M Mahender Reddy, Telangana CEO Rajat Kumar and others. The state government has come forward and promised all assistance required for the big task. The EC officials said that the main objective of equipping each booth with CCTV is to check malpractices in the polling process.
In the earlier elections, the commission deployed videographers with digital cameras and recorded the polling process. In some identified booths, webcams were installed to ascertain the situation. In 2014 elections, 16,500, out of 29,138 booths, were provided webcams. In the leftover booths, videographers were assigned to record the voters who cast their votes.Officials said that the CCTV cameras will be connected with internet facility so that the officials of the commission could monitor polling anytime with a single click on the computer from their offices. The advanced monitoring system will be established in the sensitive and critical polling booths first. A final decision in adopting the new system will be taken up after consulting the stake holders, technology firms and the government.
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