In Hyderabad, scientists too on election duty

EVMs are being taken from polling stations to strong room at Amberpet GHMC ground in Hyderabad.   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

Central government employees, teachers, and even high ranking officials from Central government research institutions have been enlisted in considerable numbers for election duty during the upcoming GHMC polls.

With teachers from State government service exempted from the job, the burden is transferred to all and sundry from the other departments.

“Even principal scientists from Central research institutions have received election duty orders from the GHMC Commissioner. During earlier polls, we could seek exemption from it citing our work, but this time, there is no reply for our requests,” an institutional head revealed on condition of anonymity.

As the designations for polling duty are fixed based on the pay scale, most of the Central government employees would be usually appointed as presiding officers and micro observers.

While in the Assembly and Parliament elections, they reported to the Revenue Divisional Officers and Joint Collectors respectively, in GHMC polls, the reporting authority is much inferior in rank, such as MPDO/agricultural officer.

Sources informed that the officials in the cadre of director and joint director too got orders designating them as presiding officer, while those in the joint secretary and additional secretary rank have been designated as polling officers.

While it is by no means the first time that Central government employees are being roped in for election duty, the due procedure of seeking the list from the heads of the institutions has not been followed this time, they say.

“They have taken the names from the list of employees who worked for the Lok Sabha polls in 2019, and dispatched orders for even employees who retired and who are on maternity leave. We sent a modified list, but there is no response for the same, and the employees kept getting notifications about the training camp,” shared another high ranking official.

Exemption for State government teachers has not been extended to those from Central schools, who all have been conscripted for elections.

“We have pre-board exams in December, and are under pressure to complete the syllabus and conduct revision classes. Election duty at this time adds to the stress,” complained a teacher from Kendriya Vidyalaya. Confusion prevails, as she has received orders to attend training at three centres, respectively at Hayatnagar, Ramantapur, and Dilsukhnagar.

“Further, we could not comprehend the training material as it was totally in Telugu. At the training camp, three fourth of the staff were from non-Telugu background. How are we to conduct elections?” she questioned.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 12:11:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/scientists-too-on-election-duty/article33180238.ece

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