17,000 police personnel deployed as Odisha gears up for first election phase

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Bhubaneswar, (Reporterspen), May 12: Ahead of Odisha’s inaugural election phase on Monday, robust security measures are in place, with over 17,000 police personnel deployed across various locations to ensure a tranquil and seamless voting process. Director General of Police (DGP) Arun Sarangi, in a press briefing at Bhubaneswar, highlighted the meticulous arrangements, particularly in Maoist-affected regions, aimed at facilitating trouble-free polling.

“Odisha Police is fully prepared to oversee smooth, unbiased, and transparent elections,” asserted DGP Sarangi.

Monday’s polls encompass voting for four Lok Sabha constituencies and 28 Assembly seats, marking the first phase of electoral activity. Subsequent phases are slated for May 20, 25, and June 1.

Preparations include the dispatch of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) devices, and polling personnel to respective constituencies under tight security protocols.
A substantial deployment of forces, including 104 companies of central forces and 66 platoons of Special Armed Police (SAP), along with 600 mobile inspection teams, underscores the comprehensive security framework. Moreover, surveillance at key checkpoints bordering Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh is augmented with CCTV monitoring.

Following Election Commission directives, 210 flying squads and 195 static surveillance teams are operational to ensure adherence to electoral norms and curb malpractices.

Post-voting procedures entail storing EVMs in 15 secure chambers under continuous paramilitary guard. Inner perimeters will be safeguarded by paramilitary forces, while SAP units will oversee outer security.
Of the nine districts slated for Monday’s polls, six grapple with left-wing extremism (LWE), warranting specialized security measures. Notably, seven polling teams have been airlifted via special helicopters to the Maoist-affected Sunabeda region, ensuring the safety of polling officials.

In a concerted effort to facilitate safe conduct, the Election Commission has allocated helicopters and an air ambulance for the transportation and emergency medical needs of polling personnel, as detailed by the DGP.

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