22 May 2019
What are EVM strongrooms? All your questions answered
Subsequently, the Election Commission shifted EVMs to strongrooms and they will be taken out only at 8 AM tomorrow.
But what exactly are EVM strongrooms? Let us tell you.
EVMs strongrooms are different from your quintessential strongrooms
As the name suggests, a strongroom is a room which has strong doors and walls to keep the items inside it safe. Quite obviously, EVM strongrooms also serve the same purpose.
It's just that EVM strongrooms have more layers of security since Election Commission doesn't want to take any chances.
From security to construction, EC has strict guidelines for everything.
EVM strongrooms can have only one entry point
As per EC's guidelines, EVM strongrooms can have only one entry. All windows and doors of the strongroom must remain sealed.
The strongroom is also supposed to have a double lock system. Only the returning officer and the assistant returning officer are allowed to keep the keys.
Notably, EC allows representatives of political parties to remain present when the rooms are sealed.
Visitors of strongrooms have to sign a register
No one can roam near the strongroom without signing a log book. Whether it is the DM, SP, or the candidate himself, everyone is supposed to enter the date, time and names in the register.
Apart from this, a CCTV camera guards the door of the strongroom at all times.
During counting, the inner perimeter of the strongroom is protected by barricades.
These rules are kept in mind before choosing strongroom
As it turns out, strongrooms are chosen after giving much thought. For example, a basement that has a risk of getting flooded can't become a strongroom.
The strongroom also can't be immediately under a roof, near staircases, toilets, building drains, pump room, or below a water tank.
The room has to be fire-resistant and all ducts should be built of noncombustible materials.
Candidates can send workers to oversee security of strongrooms
To ward off any doubts related to security, EC allows candidates to keep a close watch on security arrangements. The parties can deploy cadres for this purpose.
However, the workers aren't allowed to come close to the inner perimeter.
In case the door of the strongroom isn't visible to them, the workers can view the CCTV footage.
EVM strongrooms have a three-layered security
The inner circle of EVM strongrooms is guarded by Central Para-military Forces. The armed forces of the state take care of the middle circle while local police patrol the streets. The District Collectorate (DC) and Superintendent of Police (SP) are personally responsible for the security.