HYDERABAD: Based on instructions by the Election Commission of India, polling officials removed the battery pack from VVPAT (Voter verifiable paper audit trail) machines both in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, even as political parties raised apprehensions of batteries melting or leaking due to long storage.
The election for the Lok Sabha polls in Telangana and both Lok Sabha and Assembly in Andhra Pradesh were held on April 11 and the EVMs need to be stored for 42 days, as counting will be taken up on May 23 only after polling is completed in the remaining phases. Both EVMs and VVPATs are being stored in strong rooms guarded by police from the Centre and state.
Nagarkurnool district collector E Sridhar told TOI, “Some of the political parties made representations to the Election Commission of India, stating that the battery pack in VVPATs may leak due to long storage. It is not related to temperature. An ECI expert committee verified the representation and instructions were issued to remove the battery pack after polling. After polling, in the presence of polling agents, the battery packs were removed.”
He added, “VVPAT contains printed voter slips. It will have seven sensors with memory. Removing the battery pack will not have any effect.”
Additional chief electoral officer of Telangana Jyothi Budda Prakash told TOI, “The battery pack in the machines were removed before storage for security reasons. Even in household torchlights, if the batteries are kept for weeks without using, there is a possibility of leaks. It is a prescribed protocol for removal of batteries.”
VVPAT operates on a battery pack with 22.5 V / 4 Ah. According to ECI manual, the battery pack is used for providing power to the VVPAT – M3 system for its normal operation.