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Election officials complain about working conditions

By Rashmi Ramesh

People queue to vote at a polling station in Bangalore Urban.

BANGALORE (April 17)—People who have been appointed for election duty have not been provided with basic utilities including clean rooms, drinking water and sanitation facilities.

These people include teachers, bank employees, among others.

Chandramati, an employee at State Bank of India (SBI) who was appointed for election duty in a Bangalore Urban constituency, said bad living conditions at polling sites were not uncommon.

“We are selected by the government for the election duty, whether we are willing to do it or not,” she said. “The least they can do then is provide decent accommodation and basic facilities such as drinking water, sanitation and clean rooms.

“When I first got here, the place was worse than a cowshed. I and the few other people on election duty had to clean up all the dirt and cobwebs here.”

Pragnya, another person who was given election duty, said in Mahalakshmi Layout, which is her appointed location, she and her fellow officials did not even have place to sit.

“I am not even on duty. I am a backup if anybody does not show up for work here,” she said. “I had to show up for work at 5 a.m. and stay till 10 p.m. And I did not even have a place to sit. I had to make do with sitting on benches that grade 2 children use. I had a bad knee and back pain all day.

“Yesterday, there was no drinking water. Thankfully, they have had the kindness to get us some water bottles today.”

Dhanraj, first division officer at the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, said that since the municipal corporation is responsible to ensure that people on election duty have the basic facilities available to them, they have teams of people who are appointed in each constituency to maintain decent accommodation and basic utilities.

No officer had come to check on any facilities at the Mahalakshmi Layout polling station, Pragnya said.


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