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EPIC exercises on with mild hiccups
Correspondent KOHIMA, JUN 3 (NPN):
Published on 4 Jun. 2011 12:25 AM IST
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Implementation of Electronic Photo Identity Card (EPIC) in the first phase in Nagaland has not been smooth with various reports of technical malfunctions of the cameras used in EPIC so far.
It was reported that at different constituencies, cameras either malfunctioned when batteries and memory chips several reports of malfunctioning camera batteries and memory chips. There were also complaints that batteries ran out soon after taking a few photos.
The first phase of EPIC got off to a start with state chief minister Neiphiu Rio being the first voter to have his photograph taken on June 1 last at his official bungalow.
Another complaint being received was of insufficient E-roll for which the voters queuing up had to go on rotation to check the entire list of their polling station and stand in queue to take their photography.
Though general perception was that it was due to lack of experience or efficiency of the enumerators, some aired the demand that a probe needs to be done on the arrangements by the district level authorities for the entire exercise.
When contacted, Jane Alam, chief election officer (CEO) Nagaland claimed that the first phase of the EPIC went off well though admitting that there were some reports of malfunctioning of cameras. He opined that enumerators were not familiar in handling the equipments but added, all these would be resolved by Saturday.
Alam cited the case in Kohima district’s 60 polling stations where complaints were received from seven polling stations regarding malfunctioning of cameras due to unformatted memory chips.
He however dismissed speculations of manipulation and clarified that no contract has been awarded to any private parties by the CEO and that the master trainers and the BLO were the ones trained for the job.
He also revealed that only 300 Cannon and Nikon cameras were allotted for the EPIC exercise in the state which purchased directly from the companies.
The BLOs are being given Rs.4/- per photograph of the electors and no extra amount has been sanctioned for them, he said. Alam also disclosed that each polling station has been assigned one camera with a 4 GB memory stick for taking the photographs of voters.
Reacting to another query, he also denied that memory chips got burnt during photography. He also said Village Councils and the Gaon Burahs have been authorized to use other digital cameras and memory chips for use in the same exercise.
On the problem of enrolment of the electorate, Alam said that the CEO office presently went by the enrolment of the January 5, on the E-roll and that one has to have only one EPICs; i.e. either one has to go to one’s constituency or enroll during the next revision of electoral rolls after the current EPIC exercises end by September.
It may mentioned that the first phase of the EPIC in the stated started on the 2nd to 26th of June while the second phase will started on July 2 to 27 next.

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