Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections | PWD builds warehouses to store EVMs in 31 district headquarters

The project follows an ECI directive

The Public Works Department (PWD) is in the process of constructing warehouses in 31 district headquarters to store EVMs (electronic voting machines) and VVPATs (voter-verified paper audit trails).

These facilities are being constructed on the campus of Collectorates to ensure adequate security measures and the safe storage of EVMs and VVPATs after the counting of votes in May.

The ₹120.87-crore project was taken up with State government funds following a directive from the Election Commission of India (ECI) and in coordination with the Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).

Various facilities

Sources in the PWD said the buildings would have facilities, including rooms for security personnel and Election Commission officials. Each building has been designed based on the number of EVMs and VVPATs to be stored, with a plinth area ranging from 595 sq m to 1,910 sq m.

Some of the warehouses have been designed as two-storeyed buildings with elevators. Halls have been designed without windows to store ballot units, control units and VVPATs. But there would be sufficient ventilation, the sources added.

‘Dedicated warehouses’

“We have so far handed over buildings in 12 districts to district election officers. Districts, including Theni, Vellore, Namakkal, Nagapattinam, Dharmapuri and Kancheepuram, now have dedicated warehouses,” an official said.

The Greater Chennai Corporation would be constructing the warehouse in Chennai. Nearly 90% of the work is complete in 17 districts, including Nilgiris, Tiruvallur, Sivaganga, Erode, Salem and Coimbatore. These warehouses would be handed over to the district electoral officers by this month-end. The projects in Kanniyakumari and Madurai districts would be completed in May and July respectively, the sources said.

About 1.69 lakh ballot units, 93,400 each of control units and VVPATs were allocated and distributed according to the number of polling stations in each district. Sources in the Election Commission said some of the warehouses were already functioning and first-level checking of the EVMs had been done. Sites were being identified to construct buildings in the remaining districts too.

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