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As staff ‘fall ill’ in poll season, DMs set up medical boards

“More than 400 persons were denied leave after the medical board did not find them suffering from any serious illness, requiring bed rest or getting rushed to the hospitals for treatment,” said a senior officer of the district.

patna Updated: Mar 31, 2019 13:08 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
sick leave,poll season

Harried by the rush of leave applications of the government staff on health ground, district magistrates (DMs) of the poll bound districts in Bihar have set up medical board to examine veracity of the claims.

Bhagalpur DM Pranav Kumar, also the returning officer, recently had to set up a five-member medical board headed by the civil surgeon after his officer received over 500 applications for leave citing medical grounds of different level of officials and staff.

“More than 400 persons were denied leave after the medical board did not find them suffering from any serious illness, requiring bed rest or getting rushed to the hospitals for treatment,” said a senior officer of the district.

Likewise, Jamui DM Dharmendra Kumar also set up a medical board to scrutinize the application for medical leave ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Kumar said his office received leave application of 122 staff and officials. “Barely 27-28 persons were allowed leave by the medical board,” said the Jamui DM.

Maoists-infested district of Jamui is going to the polls in the first phase on April 11, while the polling in Bhagalpur will take place in the second phase on April 18.

Officials said that application for leave especially on medical grounds was a common practice as all other leaves availed by the government staff stood cancelled during the election period. The DMs of the poll-bound district usually set up the medical board to test genuineness of the leave petition. “However, some of the staff also evince their interest to work as they get an allowance of Rs 2,500 per day,” said a DM.

Chief electoral officer, Bihar, HR Srinivasan said that the election commission of India (ECI) rested on the district administration’s arrangements for peaceful, fair and smooth conduct of the elections. “It is their (DMs) responsibility to ensure availability of required number of strength of officials for the poll. We do not issue any specific instruction with regard to regulating leaves of the staff,” Srinivasan, adding that the discretion lied on the DMs about how to manage required staff strength.

First Published: Mar 31, 2019 13:08 IST