This letter deals with the actions to be taken for aiding the senior officers who will visit this district as Observers in connection with the ensuing Assembly Election, 2011. Observers being the Eyes & Ears of the Commission, we need to assist them in all possible ways to ensure that they function comfortably in our district after their arrival and we provide all sorts of requisite assistance to them which shall go a long way in ensuring a free & fair election. Though we do not have information regarding the names of Observers to be appointed for our district, yet it can be presumed that there shall be one Observer for every two Assembly Constituencies. As per information we have, we shall have a total of nine Observers including two Expenditure Observers. Normally, the Observers arrive during the nomination phase and stay till completion of the election process. However, one also feels that the Observers might come to the district by the middle of this month itself for taking a preliminary stock of the overall election-related preparations made in this district. So, we do need to be ready well in advance with all the requisite preparations.
It shall be appreciated if the Cell-related officers go through all the ECI guidelines, circulars & orders in connection with arrangements to be made for the Hon’ble Observers as well as the statutory steps to be taken during their stay in the district. The ECI has issued guidelines for finalizing many of the election arrangements, in presence of Hon’ble Observers only. With the concept of appointing Micro Observers and Assistant Expenditure Observers for the ensuring General Elections, the importance of the District Observer Cell can very well be appreciated. It is also directed that similar cells be formed at the level of SDOs immediately.
The District Observer Cell is comprised of the following officers:
ADM-in-Charge : Shri Amitava Sengupta, WBCS(Exe.), ADM (Gen)
Officer-in-Charge : Shri Bhabani Sankar Mondal, WBCS(Exe.), Dy.Magistrate
& Dy.Collector, Birbhum
Following shall be the responsibilities of the Cell:
- The District Observer Cell will coordinate constantly with the Observer Cells formed at Sub-Divisional level. The District Observer Cell shall ensure identification of competent liaison officers, escort officers and videographers who will be accompanying the Observers during their journey within the Assembly Constituency and their election works.
- The Cell shall also ensure that these liaison officers are suitably trained before they actually set out to do their work. The emphasis, during their training, should be on protocol and basic knowledge relating to elections in the district. The liaison officers should also extensive tour the area assigned to them and familiarize themselves with the booths and prominent landmarks in their jurisdiction before arrival of the Hon’ble Observers.
- The Cell, shall take initiative for advance booking of concerned guest houses, circuit houses for the purpose and get the same ready well in advance.
- The Cell shall make requisition of ‘good conditioned vehicles’ for the use of Hon’ble Observers during their stay in the district.
- The Cell shall also coordinate with the office of the Superintendent of Police, Birbhum for tagging sincere PSO with the Observers who shall also in turn be duly briefed about their duties during attachment with the Hon’ble Observers.
- The Cell shall procure relevant information, booklets, maps, force deployment plan, mobile phone and other materials from the Statutory Cell/Publication Cell in advance for handing over the same to the Observers soon after they arrive in the district.
- The Cell shall ensure that the place of stay and the work place for Observers are well equipped with the relevant logistic support and other informative materials, as per the ECI guidelines.
- The Cell shall take adequate steps to train the liaison officers, drivers and securities so that they assist the Observers, in proper discharge of their duties.
- The Cell shall coordinate with the Statutory and other election-related cells promptly in order to provide desired information to the concerned Observers.
- As the ECI has introduced the concept of appointing Micro Observers and Assistant Expenditure Observers, the District Observer Cell shall acquaint itself with all guidelines related with the Micro Observers/Assistant Expenditure Observers and assist the Observers to ensure smooth functioning of Micro Observers/Assistant Expenditure Observers.
- The District Cell shall also procure other relevant information, for example, details of Flight schedule, Train schedule, Geography and History of the district etc. which might be relevant for the use of the Hon’ble Observers.
The aforesaid points are only illustrative in nature and in no way, undermine the importance of instructions, guidelines, circulars issued by the ECI on the subject from time to time.
All the other officers and members of the staff associated with the Cell shall provide all support and assistance as might be required for the successful functioning of the Observer Cell.
With best wishes,
Dr. Saumitra Mohan, IAS.