By Sahil Pandey
Patna (Bihar) [India], November 9 (ANI): Ahead of the counting day on Tuesday, the Election Commission of India has increased the number of counting centres to 55 in order to comply with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. The number of counting centres in the state was 38 during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
"Earlier we used to have 38 counting centre for 38 districts but this time we have 55 counting centres and the simple reason is that we want to maintain social distance," Bihar Chief Election Commissioner HR Srinivasa told ANI here.
In Patna, votes for all the 14 assembly constituencies will be counted at just 1 centre set up at AN College. The poll panel said it is readying 30 counting halls at the college.
Srinivasa further said that ECI has established a 3-tier security system for strong rooms (housing the EVMs) and the counting centres.
"Election Commission gave 19 companies of paramilitary forces to guard strongrooms. They are the innermost core of counting centres' security. There are 59 companies of paramilitary forces to maintain general law and order in the state. The inner core is being guarded by the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), then there is the Bihar Military Police (BMP) and then the district police," he added.
Speaking about the surveillance of the strong room, Bihar CEO said, "Inside counting centres, there is 24X7 surveillance by CCTVs and strong rooms have been locked and controlled by the paramilitary force. Candidates are allowed to sit outside counting centres to keep a watch and given live feed. Everybody who visits the counting centre then we have kept a logbook. Highest care has been taken so that counting centre is safe."
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) have been imposed in and around the counting centres to prevent the gathering of people. (ANI)