No big heatwave in 2nd LS polls: IMD

NEW DELHI, 22 Apr: There is “no major concern” regarding heatwave for the second phase of Lok Sabha polls to be held on 26 April, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) told the Election Commission (EC) on Monday.

IMD Director General Mrutunjay Mohapatra also told the poll panel that the weather forecast is “normal” for the 13 states and union territories going to polls in phase two, according to an official statement.

Amid concerns over rising temperature, the commission on Monday held a meeting with the agencies concerned to understand the developing weather situation and discuss measures to mitigate any risk due to hot weather conditions during the Lok Sabha polling period.

The elections are being held in seven phases,beginning on 19 April, and ending on 1 June.

The meeting also comes amid concerns that heatwave could affect voter turnout.

It was decided at the meeting that a task force comprising officials from the EC, the IMD, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the union health ministry will review the impact of heatwave and humidity five days before each polling phase for any “concerning developments” and mitigation measures required, the statement said.

The EC also directed the health ministry to issue necessary instructions to state health authorities to prepare for and extend assistance in case of heatwave conditions affecting election operations.

The EC will hold a separate review with state chief electoral officers to ensure adequate arrangements at polling stations, including tents, drinking water, fans, and other assured minimum facilities as per its recent advisory.

Information, education and communication activities will be held for the public for do’s & don’ts to mitigate the heatwave impact in polling station areas, the EC said.

“The Election Commission has been closely monitoring the weather reports and will make sure the comfort and wellbeing of voters along with polling personnel and security forces, candidates and political party leaders,” it said. (PTI)