Worried about the low voter turnout that marked the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 19, the Election Commission of India on Monday held a meeting and took a series of steps to ensure that scorching heat does not impact polling in the remaining six phases that will get over on June 1.

The EC said that the Director General of the Indian Metrological Department informed the Commission during the meeting that there is no major concern with regard to the heatwave for phase 2 of the general elections on April 26. The weather forecast is “normal” for the 13 States and UTs going for polls in Phase 2, the EC said.

In view of reports of above-normal temperatures and heat waves in certain parts of the country, the Commission consulted the Met Department to understand the developing weather situation and discuss measures to mitigate any risk due to hot weather conditions during the period of general elections.

“A task force comprising officials from ECI, IMD, NDMA, and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare will review the impact of heatwaves and humidity five days before each polling phase for any concerning developments and mitigatory measures, if necessary,” the Commission said, informing one of the decisions taken at the meeting.

The Commission said it directed MoHFW to issue necessary instructions to health authorities in States to prepare for and extend assistance in case of heatwave conditions affecting election operations.

The Commission will hold a separate review with State CEOs to ensure adequate arrangements at polling stations, including shamiyana, drinking water, fans, and other assured minimum facilities, as per its existing advisory of March 16, 2024.

It was decided that IEC (Information, Education, and Communication) activities shall be carried out amongst the public for precautionary measures (dos & don’ts) to mitigate the heat wave impact in polling station areas.

The Commission also stated it has been closely monitoring the weather reports and will make sure the comfort and well-being of voters, along with polling personnel and security forces, candidates, and political party leaders.

The meeting, chaired by Chief Election Commission (CEC) Rajiv Kumar along with Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, was attended by Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Head of Department, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and DG Meteorology, India Meteorological Department (IMD).