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    WB: EC to end polls 2 hrs early in last phase

    Kolkata: The Election Commission (EC) is taking extra care of poll officials deployed in West Bengal's final round of voting on Tuesday in 14 constituencies, considered a Maoist hotbed, and has made elaborate security arrangements for them, an official said on Monday.

    "All the polling personnel have already been alerted and asked to be careful while conducting poll process even though elaborate security arrangements have been made for them," said state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sunil Kumar Gupta.

    Polling is being held on Tuesday in 14 constituencies spread over Maoist-affected districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura.

    Considering the safety and security of the officials, election will be conducted between 7 am and 3 pm, which is two hours earlier than the usual time.

    "Polling will end at 3 pm as we want to take back the polling official to their reporting centres before dusk. In many polling booths where the number of electors is over 800 we have posted an additional polling official to speed up the process," said Gupta.

    Sector offices have been set up within close range of the polling booths so that in case of emergency, electronic voting machines (EVMs) can be replaced immediately.

    "We have identified 1,049 hamlets as vulnerable to threats by miscreants of which 470 are in West Midnapore, 563 in Bankura and 16 in Purulia. Both civil officials and security personnel are keeping a close watch on the residents of these hamlets," said Gupta.

    "A round the clock control room has been set up in the district administrative building for assisting the vulnerable voters. The numbers of the control room have been publicised, if any voter calls and informs that he has been threatened, then security personnel will rush to help the voter within 10 minutes," Purulia district magistrate and district election officer Abinindra Singh told IANS.