The Election Commission (ECI) on Tuesday issued an advisory to the Chief Electoral Officers of all states and Union Territories, with guidelines for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The poll panel’s advisory also had directions to prepare for the heatwaves expected during the polling season.

The EC has sought “strict compliance” with its directive of providing assured minimum facilities at polling stations, including drinking water, shade and medical kits at polling booths.

The ECI has also shared with its state chief electoral officers a set of ‘dos and don’ts’ issued by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to minimise the impact of the impending heat wave. In a letter sent out to its CEOs on March 16, the day it announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections, the ECI reminded them about its earlier set of instructions on assuring required facilities at polling stations.

According to the June 2023 instructions on assured minimum facilities, which have been circulated afresh, during summer, every polling party shall be supplied with oral rehydration salts (ORS) for their use as well as for any voter needing the same due to heat stroke.

“A handbill on ‘Dos and Don’ts’ in case of heat stroke may be prepared and supplied to each of the polling parties. An appeal to the electors may be issued to carry wet towels to protect themselves against dehydration and also advise women electors to avoid bringing children along with them to polling stations during hot weather conditions,” the instruction said.

The ECI’s directives followed the IMD’s prediction in a detailed three-month weather forecast predicting ‘above normal maximum temperatures’ in most parts of the country.

A senior scientist with the Indian Meteorological Department, Soma Sen Roy, expressed her concerns about the challenging weather conditions, indicating that states like Kerala, Telangana, and Railseema have already begun to experience heatwaves. She warned that the situation would worsen in Vidarbha and Maharashtra as the protective shield of cloud cover recedes.

The IMD predicts temperature surges in the range of 47-48 degrees Celsius during the campaign months across Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and parts of Odisha.

Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1 for which nearly 11 lakh polling stations are being set up across the 543 constituencies.

Published By:

Srishti Jha

Published On:

Mar 27, 2024

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