Gearing up its entire machinery for assembly polls in Mizoram, the authorities have decided to connect all polling booths through wireless communication for the first time leaving no "shadow areas" at all.
Gearing up its entire machinery for assembly polls in Mizoram, the authorities have decided to connect all polling booths through wireless communication for the first time leaving no “shadow areas” at all. Mizoram, having a difficult hilly terrain, is going for assembly elections on Wednesday to elect 40 MLAs.
“For the first time in Mizoram’s election history, all polling booths will be covered by wireless communication. It will help in timely reporting of every development and progress of the polling,” Mizoram Deputy Inspector General of Police (Training & Armed Branch) Joseph Lalchhuana told PTI in an interview. Till the last election in 2014 for the Lok Sabha, not all areas were connected through wirless technology and there was a delay in receiving information from far-flung booths, he added.
Lalchhuana, who is also the Assistant State Police Nodal Officer for the assembly elections, said: “By doing this (wireless connection), we have eliminated all shadow areas from Mizoram. Shadow areas means the place where there is no communication.” For operating the system as per the Election Commission of India guidelines, special training sessions were conducted for the Mizoram Police personnel and now everything is in place to conduct the polls efficiently, he added.
“We take pride in it. We have tested it under the direct supervision of our DGP Balaji Srivastava and are fully confident of supporting the Election Commission as and when required,” Lalchhuana said. Mizoram has 7,70,395 registered voters who will cast their franchise in 1,164 polling booths across the state, while an additional 15 special booths have been created at Kanhmun village in Mamit district for the Bru refugees coming from six camps in Tripura.
Lalchhuana said that during the poll campaigning, which ended last evening, the Mizoram Police had formed 84 flying squads, 39 dynamic check posts, 80 static surveillance teams and 80 quick response teams across the state to prevent any unlawful activities. “We have over 50 zonal police officers in the rank of DSP to SP. They are looking at the macro security arrangements in their respective areas. Above them, we have four grid DIGs along with the existing two range DIGs for overall responsibility,” he added. Mizoram has 38 police stations and it has recently set up five new outposts for ease of surveillance and confidence-building among voters.
“The total sanctioned strength of Mizoram Police is around 13,000 personnel, but we have around 9,000 persons at present. They all will be involved in the poll process,” the DIG said. Mizoram Police is being assisted in its poll-related activities by 40 companies of central armed police forces (CAPF), comprising personnel from BSF, SSB, CRPF and Assam Police.
Lalchhuana said special attention has been given along the state’s borders with Assam, Manipur and Tripura, while the Mizoram DGP has sought cooperation from his counterparts in these states. “At four inter-state border points, we are monitoring the movement of people through CCTV. This is a new initiative and we installed it before the poll process started,” he added. Lalchhuana also praised the public for cooperation in overall peace-keeping efforts during the election campaign across the state.
He appreciated the people for depositing their licenced arms as soon as the election notification was announced despite this being the harvest season that typically sees attacks by wild boars on farmers’ produce. “We are repeatedly thanking the people for their cooperation. Mizoram has a track record of holding free and fair polls in the past. I had joined in 1986 and since then, I have witnessed no violence before or after the polling or after declaration of results,” Lalchhuana said.
The ruling Congress and the main opposition party Mizo National Front (MNF) have fielded 40 candidates each, while the BJP is looking to open its account in the state for the first time by contesting in 39 seats. The Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM), an alliance formed by two political parties and four groups, is contesting in 35 seats. Counting of votes will be taken up on December 11.