Bhubaneswar: The third phase of the panchayat elections begins in Odisha as polling commences at 7 AM on Sunday with strict Covid protocols.
Around 56 lakh voters in 1382 gram panchayats in 63 blocks across all 29 districts in the State are to exercise their franchise in the third phase polling.
The polling is to be held in 18,495 booths. Out of which 2773 booths have been identified as sensitive. Meanwhile, massive security arrangements have been made in Maoist-affected areas.
Around 240 platoons force, 1753 mobile patrolling parties, and district police personnel have been deployed for smooth conduct of the polls.
In the third phase, the focus will be on Bijepur, Rajnagar, Nayagarh, Satyabadi, Puri Sadar and Chilika constituencies.
Voting is underway in Salepur, Khantapada, Tigiria blocks of Cuttack district.
A total of 2, 99,517 voters will decide the fate of 2136 candidates in 998 wards of 63 panchayats of 8 zilla parishads. There are about 574 booths in 35 panchayats in 4 Zilla Parishad zones of Salepur block. Voting is underway at two Zilla Parishads and 14 panchayats in Kantapada and Tigiria blocks.
Similarly, 1382 booths have been set up for 14 Zilla Parishad and Panchayat candidates in Chatrapur, Ganjam, Dharakote, Patrapur, Belaguntha blocks of Ganjam district. A total of 4, 90, 944 voters are casting their votes. The police administration are on high alert to conduct the polls in a peaceful manner.