ECI forms heat watch task force for elections

| Updated: 22 April, 2024 5:51 pm IST
TNI Illustration Abhishek Singh

New Delhi: In preparation for the second phase of the Lok Sabha polls scheduled for April 26, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has joined forces with meteorological experts to monitor weather conditions and mitigate potential challenges. During a meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, decisions were made to address concerns regarding heat waves. The IMD assured that Phase 2 states have no significant heat wave risks, but proactive measures are in place.

This meeting was attended by Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, along with representatives from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and the India Meteorological Department (IMD), several decisions were made to address any concerns regarding heat wave conditions during the upcoming polling phase.

Key decisions taken during the meeting include the formation of a task force comprising officials from ECI, IMD, NDMA, and MoHFW to monitor heat wave and humidity conditions leading up to each polling phase. Additionally, the MoHFW has been directed to issue necessary instructions to health authorities in states to prepare for and provide assistance in case of heatwave conditions affecting election operations.

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To further enhance preparations at polling stations, the Commission will conduct a separate review with State Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) to ensure adequate arrangements, including the provision of shade, drinking water, fans, and other essential facilities.

Moreover, Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) activities will be undertaken to educate the public on precautionary measures to mitigate the impact of heat waves in and around polling station areas. The ECI’s collaborative effort aims to ensure a safe and smooth electoral process for all stakeholders.

In anticipation of potential heatwave conditions, the Election Commission had previously issued advisories to all CEOs regarding the prevention of heat wave impacts and the provision of assured minimum facilities at polling stations. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and NDMA have also issued guidelines to mitigate the risk of heat-related issues, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures and state-level action plans.

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