From midnight yesterday the police commenced removing all election related posters, placards, cutouts, banners and propaganda painted on roads in the Eastern Province, which were in violation of the Elections Act, Police Headquarters said.
The European Union, Commonwealth and the United Nations have declined the Elections Department s invitation to send observers to monitor the May 10 polls for the Eastern Provincial Council.
S. Medawewa, the head of the Election Observers Secretariat based at Galadhari Hotel, told The Island that 17 of the 18 observers attached to the Asian Election Authorities Association had arrived and were briefed by the Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake on Monday.
He said the observers from Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Taiwan, The Philippines, Indonesia, Afganistan, Tajikistan and Mongolia were to set out for the three districts, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Digamadulla by 6.00 a.m. today.
Additional Commissioner of Elections (Provincial and Local) W. P. Sumanasiri said five observers would be sent to Trincomalee while six each would be sent to the Batticaloa and Digamadulla districts. Each delegation would be accompanied by a Central Liaison officer from the Elections Secretariat.
Senior SLAS official and Consultant to the Elections Secretariat Bandula Kulatunga said each delegation would be divided into three Units with three personal security officers assigned to each unit and would carry out their monitoring in coordination with the chief returning officers ( GA) of each district.
Meanwhile, the police have put a security plan into operation where all vehicles entering the province would be registered and all occupants screened to ensure that they would not be a security threat.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Digamadulla, Rienzie Perera, who completes 36 years of service and who enjoyed a cordial relationship with the Media, will retire next Friday on turning 60. He said there were 430 Polling stations in the district and five to seven armed policemen would be deployed at each station in keeping with the specific needs of their location.
He said around 1,500 Special Task Force personnel would be assisted by the security Forces. There are 15 police Stations, 89 police Posts and 75 road blocks.
DIG Batticaloa H. M. D. Herath said there were 362 polling stations, 12 police stations and 72 police posts in the district. DIG Trincomalee Upali Gunasekera said that things were moving well according to plan and a strategic security plan had been put into operation to ensure that no one posing a security threat could enter the district from any of the entry points.
He said there were 15 police stations and 40 police posts in the district with a 108 road blocks.