Mismanagement on the part of district administration left polling staff in the lurch on Wednesday.
Due to lack of proper training, employees on poll duty suffered a lot, as they worked continuously up to 21 hours from Wednesday morning till wee hours of Thursday.
The polling staff remained hungry at night because there were no arrangements for dinner and water, when they came to submit EVMs and documents at EVM collection centre at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, on Wednesday evening.
These officials claimed that due to improper training about documentation process for submission of EVMs, they had to work till wee hour of Thursday, and that even without having dinner.
A presiding officer, requesting a nonymity, said, “After completion of polling process, the EVMs were to be submitted at the strong room at PAU, but the process took long time, as we were not given the required training. We were not eve n infor med about the exact way of filling the forms due to which I had to work till late. I got free after 3am on Thursday.”
“I, along with other members, remained hungry all night. We were given a slip to get dinner, but there was no provision for dinner at PAU. Only some managed to get drinking water,” he said.
He said, “The employees also tried to look for food around the centre, but failed. There was only one vendor, and he was offering a piece of ‘bread pakora’ at ten times higher rates than normal.”
A female staff member, requesting anonymity, said, “I reached home at around 1:30am. Some people stayed in open at PAU, as they could not return. I also remained hung ry and thirsty for many hours.”
The presiding of ficer and other staff members also raised questions over the payment for performing poll duty.
A presiding officer alleged that he was paid 1,750, while some other presiding officers were paid 2050. He said, “Some assistant presiding officers were given 1550, while some got 1250 for same job.” According to the sources, some presiding officers were using hand books to get help, but to no avail.
Deputy commissioner-cumdistrict electoral officer Rajat Agarwal could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.