Chandigarh: As part of its efforts to monitor poll expenses, the Election Commission has made it compulsory for candidates contesting Punjab Assembly election to open separate bank accounts for poll-related transactions.

"EC has directed contesting candidates to open a separate bank account for poll-related transactions...Any payment above Rs 20,000 would have to be made by cheque by the contestants candidate," EC Director General P K Dash told reporters here.

All political parties have also been asked not to do cash transactions, he said on Thursday.

Election to the 117-member Punjab Assembly is due mid-March next year.

The moves are part of the steps taken by EC to monitor poll-related expenses, Dash said.

The other steps include deployment of officials to check transfer of huge amount of cash beyond Rs one lakh and directions to banks to send details of huge cash withdrawals.

The Income Tax Department has also been asked to keep a watch at hotels, farm houses and other such places and check huge financial transactions, Dash said.

Media monitoring teams would also be deployed to keep a watch on publication of advertisements and paid news, he said, adding that the units will scan all newspapers and tabulate the expenditure as per the rates of the newspaper.