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2019 elections: Crammed up, CEO’s office to be shifted to Govt Press

Srinagar, Jan 2: Assembly and General elections round the corner, the administration plans to shift the office of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) from the crowded Old Secretariat to comparatively freer Government Printing Press premises here.

A building in Old Secretariat, Srinagar, presently houses the CEO’s office.

However, due to the lack of space, the office has to be dependent on other departments’ buildings, especially when it comes to storing Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

“The Chief Electoral Officer has raised the issue with the government that the current location was not suitable to hold the process for the upcoming polls,” an official told The Kashmir Monitor.

Following which the government has initiated a process to find a “suitable” location for the poll body, the official said.

“We can conduct and monitor the polls in a better way and hold meetings with concerned authorities if we have adequate space available,” he added.

Documents show that the authorities have found the Government Printing Press, Srinagar “feasible” for CEO’s office.

As per it, around 15 kanals of land and a number of structures, which can be used to store the poll inventory, are available at the erstwhile Government Press at Lal Chowk.

A committee comprising of district development commissioner Srinagar, vice chairman Srinagar Development Authority, commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation besides few other officers, has recommended that CEO’s office be shifted from its current location.

General Manager, Government Printing Press Srinagar, Aijaz Akhoon also confirmed the handing over of the premises to the Chief Electoral Officer.

“We are operating from Sempora, Pampore however our stationery wing works from Lal Chowk. Now, that too will be vacated,” he said.

A process has already been started to hold the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state.

A proposal about the appointment of returning and assistant returning officials for both the polls has been submitted to the poll-body by the district election offices.

The poll body is mulling to hold both the Assembly and the Parliamentary polls before April.

Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the state legislative assembly on November 21 last year citing the “impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies” and the “fragile security scenario in the state”.

The outer limit for holding fresh polls after the dissolution of a house is six months.