EC asks all districts to adopt MPPPDC
Lucknow: The Election Commission has directed all 75 districts of UP to adopt Model Plan for Polling Party Dispatch and Collection (MPPPDC), a unique model designed by none other than an IAS topper of 2009 batch and presently the District Magistrate of Amorha district in Uttar Pradesh, to conduct polls smoothly.
The model facilitates dealing with the hazardous poll management issues, particularly relating to dispatch of the polling parties, managing the polling booths and later depositing of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) after the polling.
Shubra demonstrated her model before Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi in Agra recently, who directed all the 75 districts to adopt this model to end the decade old chaos and confusion during the polling process.
Conducting smooth polls in a state with over 140 million electorate and over 1.47 lakh polling booths to elect 403 assembly members spread across in 75 districts is always presents a big task for the EC.
A 2002 passout from IIT Roorkee, who later left her job in the US and appeared for the UPSC after topping it in 2009, Subhra said," Such software was in my mind since 2012 when I was the DM of Amroha as there was chaos and confusion both during the dispatch of poll parties and later when they come to deposit it."
"Conducting elections is a humongous event management exercise that witnesses chaos and confusion that makes the entire election experience nightmarish, both for polling personnel and Returning Officers. UP, due to its huge population and associated high population density, requires effective management of Pre-poll and poll Day activities and this new model is answer to all the issues," she told UNI in a telephonic conversation from Amroha today.
Subhra is presently managing polling in four assembly seats in Amroha district, where she was posted after the announcement of the elections. In 2012 elections too, she was in Amroha, which was the only reason for EC to post her again this time too.
The proposed MPPPDC software model has five main components. The first one is Model Dispatch Centre (MDC), the place from where polling parties are dispatched has a plethora of activities and departments converging at a single point, therefore this point requires Immaculate Conception and planning so that all the processes run cohesively and confusion can be avoided. She said the entire area from party dispatch/ collection takes place is divided into zones, each zone denoting one assembly constituency. The Master Traffic Management Counter will take care for managing the traffic towards the individual constituencies from area to eliminate the possibility of traffic jams in city and different route plan while coming back on poll day. The administrative (A) sector will have arrangement for DEO, Observers and election related officers.
Besides each zone is further divided into various sectors, each sector denoting various functions including RO Counter Sector, Polling Parties Sector, Transport Sector, Traffic/Police sector for smooth conduct of the dispatch of the polling parties.
RO Counter Sector will mainly be concerned with marking attendance of Polling parties and handing over of poll related materials to the parties. To make the process of handing over smoother, numbers of counters to be so kept that each counter handles maximum of 20 -25 polling booths. In addition, a checklist will be handed over to the polling party and counters so that they can verify all materials received by them, poll related or otherwise. This will greatly reduce the time taken in the process. This sector will also have medical counter from where medicines will be handed over to parties. In case of any medical requirement, this counter will handle such situations.
There is often chaos and confusion at party dispatch and collection centers as too many vehicles and people converge at a single point. Due to lack of proper traffic management, the movement of vehicles is very slow and often leads to jams. To make this process more streamlined, the Model Dispatch centres and Model Collection Centres will have one traffic facilitation center per each assembly constituency and one central traffic counter for the entire dispatch/collection area.
Free flow of vehicles from dispatch center to the polling center and back from polling center to the collection center is a very important aspect in the entire election process. Due to ill conceived travel plan and no traffic management, the entire process becomes unbearably time consuming and chaotic often ridden with traffic jams and harassment for both returning officers and poll duty staff.
The traffic plan can be devised in such a way that different entry/exit points are made leading to well directed paths. The parking place for buses/vehicles can be marked near the zones and near the exit points towards assembly route so polling team after getting the EVMs and material can move easily towards destination through pre-arranged designated vehicles on proper way. After poll, teams can arrive at the collection centre through pre-designated routes so they can easily go back to zones to deposit the EVMs and filled formats/envelopes.
Besides the model too has solution for the problems which polling party face after reaching polling centres are closed polling booth, unavailability of furniture, drinking water, electricity, and clean toilets. The Booth Management Committee is proposed wherein specific Communication Plan will be made having Village Level Worker (VLW-1) for every booth along with another Village Level Worker (VLW-2) to ensure that Assured Minimum Facility (AMF) is ensured when team reaches the place. These two worker will be coordinated by nodal officer at Nyaya Panchayat level whose control will lie with proposed Booth.
Similarly Model Collection Centre(MCC) is the last but most important part of polling process as polling team comes after two days of hard work and everyone wants to go back as quickly as possible. They need to deposit EVMs with their reports, various types of properly sealed envelopes which support each other. Any mismatch requires that team sits again, opens all documents and makes calculations to correct information, which causes delays and impatient polling parties have to face some more harassment. The Model Collection Centre is designed the same way as a Model Dispatch Centre(MDC).
However, there are some additional features in the MCC like token system for every polling party, facilitation agents, help desk, adequate numbers of tables collecting EVMs and proper traffic system.
There is also proposal of payment of emoluments to polling parties immediately after they submit their reports to the authorities.