EC or­ders probe as firm fails to we­b­cast polling from 2,150 HP booths

NOV 9 POLL While the com­pany claims it faced con­nec­tiv­ity is­sues, pre­lim­i­nary probe says it didn’t have equip­ment to live­stream vot­ing

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HARYANA - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ter­schd@hin­dus­tan­times.com

SHIMLA: The elec­tion com­mis­sion has sought a de­tailed re­port from its IT (in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy) cell over a Gujarat-based firm’s fail­ure to we­b­cast vot­ing from 2,150 polling sta­tions in the state on Novem­ber 9.

The EC had de­cided to mon­i­tor 2,300 of a to­tal of 7,525 polling sta­tions through we­b­cast­ing when the state went to as­sem­bly polls.

As many as 983 polling sta­tions were de­clared as vul­ner­a­ble while 399 were deemed as crit­i­cal this time with the EC hav­ing de­cided to mon­i­tor all booths in the sec­ond cat­e­gory.

While the com­pany, the Epit­ome Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd, main­tained it faced tele­phone con­nec­tiv­ity prob­lems, pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry has re­vealed that it lacked the re­quired equip­ment for we­b­cast­ing. On Oc­to­ber 5, the EC had in­vited bids for livestream­ing vot­ing from se­lect polling sta­tions and also track the polling par­ties.

Af­ter analysing the bids, it as roped in the Epit­ome Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd for livestream­ing polling from these sta­tions. The com­pany sent its team and the con­tacted the EC’s lo­cal IT cell to set up equip­ment for this.

The Gujarat firm con­ducted trial runs a day ahead of the polls on Novem­ber 8. Sur­pris­ingly, we­b­cast­ing was done from 150 polling sta­tions only, it has been learnt.

Chief elec­toral of­fi­cer Push­pin­der Ra­jput did not re­spond to sev­eral calls. Joint elec­tion com­mis­sioner Vikas Sood said, “We have asked for a de­tailed re­port from the deputy com­mis­sion­ers. So far, the elec­tion depart­ment has not made any pay­ment to the firm. Ac­tion will be ini­ti­ated af­ter analysing booth-wise de­tails of polling.”

EC DI­REC­TIONS

The elec­tion com­mis­sion with a view to bring­ing trans­parency in the elec­tion process had di­rected that we­b­cast­ing, CCTV cov­er­age, videog­ra­phy and dig­i­tal cam­eras will con­ducted inside crit­i­cal and some vul­nera- ble polling booths to keep tabs on booth-cap­tur­ing, money dis­tri­bu­tion and bo­gus vot­ing.

CON­DI­TIONS FOR SER­VICE PROVIDER

The com­pany was sup­posed to have record­ing de­vices equipped with stream­ing soft­ware the en­tire day. Af­ter we­b­cast­ing was done, the ser­vice provider was sup­posed to hand over com­plete record­ing of polling day in video or au­dio for­mat in a week.

Re­turn­ing of­fi­cer-cum-sub-di­vi­sional mag­is­trate (SDM) Kalpa Avanin­der Ku­mar said we­b­cast­ing was sched­uled at 65 of a to­tal of 125 polling booths in the sub­di­vi­sion. “Of the 65, we­b­cast­ing was done only from three polling booths,” the sub-di­vi­sional mag­is­trate in­formed.

HT FILE

The elec­tion com­mis­sion had de­cided to mon­i­tor 2,300 of a to­tal of 7,525 polling sta­tions through we­b­cast­ing on vot­ing day.

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