All set for GP polls in Kodagu

Additional security in man-animal conflict, naxal-infested areas: DC

Deputy Commissioner of Kodagu Annies Kanmani Joy has said additional security measures will be taken, including patrolling in man-animal conflict zones and naxal-infested areas in Madikeri and Somwarpet taluks of the district, where polling will be held as part of the elections to 66 gram panchayats between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

She told reporters on Monday that polling stations in areas prone to man-animal conflicts, particularly havoc by wild elephants, had been identified by the officials and polling personnel deputed to such polling stations will accompanied by teams of police as well as Forest Department personnel.

The security teams will not only be deployed on night rounds, but also to conduct patrolling during the day. Necessary security measures are in place and people can come out and vote, she said.

Elections will be held for 26 gram panchayats in Madikeri and 40 in Somwarpet taluks spread across a total of 357 polling booths including 135 in Madikeri and 222 in Somwarpet. Ms Joy said 63 booths fall in man-animal conflict zones including 34 in Madikeri and 29 in Somwarpet.

While a total of 43 candidates – 24 in Madikeri and 19 in Somwarpet – had been elected unopposed, 676 contestants are vying for 267 seats in Madikeri and 1,488 candidates are in the fray for 462 seats in Somwarpet.

In Madikeri, 45 booths had been categorised as sensitive, 6 as hyper-sensitive and 8 as naxal-prone, besides 80 general booths. In Somwarpet, there are 48 sensitive booths, 24 hyper-sensitive booths and 154 general booths.

All the polling officials had left for their respective polling stations on Monday afternoon with ballot papers, ballot boxes and other polling material.

COVID-19

Ms. Joy said arrangements were in place for permitting COVID-19 positive patients to cast their votes between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

The names of COVID-19 positive patients had been collected by the respective gram panchayat officials and shared with taluk health officers. Vehicles had been arranged to bring the patients from Covid Care Centres and COVID-19 hospitals to their respective polling booths. COVID-19 patients who are in home isolation are allowed to come in their private vehicles also.

Health Department officials had been deputed to all the polling booths and entry will be permitted only after undergoing a check of body temperature on thermal scanner, wearing a mask and cleaning hands with a sanitiser.

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