Bhubaneswar: As the political atmosphere in the State hots up for Panchayat poll, the State Election Commission (SEC) is receiving a lot of petition from political parties on violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
So, the SEC has formed a Screening Committee headed by Chief Secretary SC Mahapatra to examine proposals relating to MCC. Principal Secretary GA and PG Department has been appointed as a member of the panel while another member will be ACS or secretary of the concerned Department of which the proposal is related.
After examining the proposal, the panel will send it to the SEC for necessary action. No proposal shall be forwarded to the Commission directly without the prior approval of the Screening Committee.
Meanwhile, the SEC has asked the Excise Department to impose ban on sale and distribution of liquor during the polling days
SEC Secretary RN Sahu has written a letter to the Principal Secretary, Excise Department, for this purpose.
In the interest of free and fair election, the Commission directed that no spirituous, fermented or intoxicating liquors or other substances of like nature shall be sold, given or transported to or distributed at hotels, eating houses, tavern, shops or any other place, public or private within the respective wards during the period of 48 hours preceding the poll up to the day following the poll day.
The Excise Department was asked to issue necessary orders in this regard to the field level officials. The Commission expects that the above restrictions shall be vigorously enforced by concerned authorities.
No arms and fatal weapons will be allowed to the booths, people carrying licenced guns and other weapons are prohibited from moving around near those places from February 14 (5PM) to March 1 (5PM), the Commission ordered the Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Home Department.
However, the election officers, polling officers, police officers and any other person appointed to maintain law and order at a polling station, who is on duty at polling station can go armed as defined in the Arms Act, 1959 of any kind within the neighbourhood of the polling station set up in every ward. The SEC has warned of stern action against the persons who would violate its orders.
In order to facilitate the voters in these areas to exercise their franchise, the SEC asked the State Government to grant paid holiday to all Government employees and those working in Government Undertakings/Boards, Corporations, Apex Bodies etc. on the day of poll for their respective local area.
The Government employees who desire to exercise their franchise at a place away from their headquarters on the date of poll will be allowed Special Casual Leave for maximum period of 3 (three ) days i.e. on the day preceding poll, one day after poll and on the date of poll.
The leave to be granted may be treated as Special Casual Leave in addition to normal Casual Leave admissible to them during the Calendar Year, 2022.
Moreover, the SEC has also written to the Labour and ESI Department to ensure that every person employed in any business, trade, industrial undertaking or any other establishment and desiring to vote at the said election shall be granted paid holiday on the date of poll.
The Panchayat polls will be held in five phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24. The counting of votes and declaration of results will be done at all the block levels on February 26, 27, and 28.