VVPAT slips create flutter in Atmakur

VVPAT slips create flutter in Atmakur
Highlights

1. A large bunch of slips were found on the premises of govt school
2. Officials clarify that they were not the slips generated during polling
3. They were the slips which were generated during the commissioning of the machines ahead of the polling day

Nellore/Amaravati: Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips found at a government school in Atmakur town on Monday created flutter among local population as rumours spread over possible misuse of EVMs during polling on April 11.

Students of local government high school found a large bunch of slips on the premises of the school and the teachers informed the issue to the officials. Local revenue officials rushed to the spot and observed the slips and heaved sigh of relief as they were used during commissioning of the machines. Returning Officer S China Ramudu said that they were not slips generated on the polling day. He said, normally, randomising of the Electronic Voting Machines takes place just before commencement of actual polling process and later the slips will be discarded.

But, he said, they have to be preserved for not creating any such apprehensions. He also checked the slips and said they were only part of machine testing and not connected to the polls.

Further, the District Collector and District Election Officer R Mutyala Raju and Joint Collector-2 Madhusudana Rao probed into the incident. The Collector interacted with the Returning Officer and RDO S China Ramudu on the details of commissioning and those who acted in a negligent manner in disposing of the slips.

Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer Gopalakrishna Dwivedi directed the district administration to book criminal cases against those responsible for Atmakur incident. He said Returning Officers of the constituencies concerned are responsible for such negligence and asked the district officials to check thoroughly and identify the officials responsible.

The office of Chief Electoral Officer has summoned the officials concerned for transportation of unused EVMs after strongrooms were locked at Machilipatnam in Krishna district.

The CEO office also enquired on large-scale dumping of VVPAT slips at Atmakur in Nellore district.

The officials informed the CEO that the VVPAT slips do not belong to actual polling. They were used during the time of commissioning. However, the CEO directed the Nellore district Collector to take serious action against those who dumped the slips on the school premises.

A day before the polling, the BEL engineers tested the EVMs and VVPATs by pressing more than 1,000 votes at a polling station in Atmakur. Some of the tested VVPAT slips were dumped outside. The office of Dwivedi explained that for any poll violation, the returning officers concerned would be held responsible and they must be careful in handling the EVMs and VVPATs.

On the other hand, office of CEO admonished Krishna District Joint Collector and Nuzvid Sub-Collector for transporting unused EVMs after the used EVMs were shifted to strong rooms.

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