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20 lakhs bottles of ‘poll’ ink for election
Published on 12 Mar. 2009 12:49 AM IST
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With every 700 voters requiring a bottle of indelible ink, containing 10 millilitre, the country will use 20 lakh bottles of ink this Lok Sabha election. Uttar Pradesh has the highest demand, having placed an order for 2,86,000 bottles and the Lakshwadeep Islands is the smallest consumer with 120 bottles. And Tamil Nadu will require about a lakh of bottles. This is despite the fact that the electorate size in Tamil Nadu has come down by several lakhs. While, in the 2004 Lok Sabha election, 4.73 crore voters cast their votes, this election the number has gone down by about 58 lakh. It is the new ink-marking rule that came into force in the 2006 assembly election in Tamil Nadu that triggered the demand for more ink, said state’s chief electoral officer Naresh Gupta. The dot that is normally placed on the index finger will now be a straight line running from the top of the nail to its end. This would consume more ink, he pointed out. Estimates have been drawn up on the number of polling stations and the voters and orders placed accordingly, said Gupta. Speaking to TOI over phone from Mysore, K J Suresh, managing director of Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited (MVPL), the sole supplier of indelible ink, said in the 2004 elections, 16 lakh phials of ink (which contained only five mililitres) were used in Tamil Nadu. This year the figure has doubled and so has the size of the bottle. With a mix of chemicals, dyes, aromatic materials and silver nitrate, the ink is exclusively used for state and general elections. To ensure safe and secure delivery of the orange-coloured ink bottles, they are fully insured and shipped by in sealed boxes through a network of contractors. Though the new marking rule was applied in states that held assembly elections or bypolls after 2006, this is the first time it is being enforced across the country. The ink will be delivered to EC in Chennai. Then it will be distributed to each polling station in the state. The MVPL will manufacture 20,140 litres of violet ink which will be sent to 28 states and seven UTs in 10 ml plastic bottles of 7.5 cm size. Suresh said the mark line cannot be erased for 15 days. MVPL also exports the voters’ ink to a few countries such as Canada, Cambodia, the Maldives, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Turkey.

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