Can you Imagine the cost of comming assembly election?
For the comming election the cost will Rs 200 crore the highest ever to be incurred in any poll in West Bengal since 1991.
This excludes the expenditure on police arrangements. As per sources in the state election department, it has already forwarded two budget proposals to the state finance department asking for the allocation of an estimated Rs 200 crore for the Assembly poll due in May.
Of this, while Rs 50 crore was sought as revised estimate (RE) in the 2010-11 fiscal, another Rs 150 crore has been sought as the budget estimate (BE) in the coming fiscal 2011-12. The RE and BE were sent to the finance department on 11 August and 15 November last year, respectively. The finance department however, has not released a single penny as yet.
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As per official record, at Rs 200 crore, this will be the highest expense to be incurred in any Assembly or Lok Sabha poll in the state since 1991 and also more than double the expense incurred in conducting the last Assembly poll in the state in 2006.
The 2006 Assembly poll, which was conducted in five phases, had cost the state exchequer Rs 80 crore for the 294 constituencies. That is, approximately Rs 27 lakh per Assembly segment. In the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, the expense rose to Rs 140 crore for the 42 parliamentary segment and if divided by 294 Assembly constituencies, the cost on that occasion was approximately Rs 40 lakh per segment. But this time, the cost per Assembly constituency (AC) is estimated to be around Rs 68 lakh.
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"This is primarily due to price escalation, introduction of elaborate training programmes for polling officials and incorporation of new technological surveillance system such as CCTV recording and web casting proposed at polling booths. In fact, the Rs 68 lakh cost per AC that we have estimated is a conservative figure and in reality this may go up by another Rs 10 lakh or so," said a senior official in the state election department.
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Incidentally, this unavoidable huge expense comes at a time when the state is reeling under the worst-ever financial crisis in recent times. Unlike the Lok Sabha poll where the Centre bears the entire election expense, the cost for the Assembly poll has to be borne by the respective states.
More articles: Bidhan sabha election 2011