Lady polling officers continue to suffer

Lady polling officers continue to suffer

Lady polling officers continue to suffer

Though the Election Commission of India has assured good facilities to women working in polling booths, it has mostly remained only on paper. 

When this correspondent visited Government Pre-University College in Vontikoppal, a lady was seen sweeping the college corridor at 7 pm. When she was asked who was the in-charge of the polling booth, lifting her broom she said, “It’s me sir, how can I help you?” 

Later showing the tiny room, which would turn into a booth on Thursday, the official, G Savitha, Associate professor, Maharani’s Women’s College, said that there were four other ladies who were sharing the room with her.

Explaining the hardship the women had gone through to clean up the room, Savitha said that when the officials had come to the polling station on Wednesday afternoon, it was found to be in unhygienic condition, with a foul smell emanating from the nearby drainages.

The lady officials then took it upon themselves to clean up the room. “We started in the afternoon, and we have still not been able to clean up the entire room. How can ladies be made to stay here without any facilties. In fact two incandescent bulbs were fixed only after we requested our higher officials,” she added.

Following complaints to the higher ups, workers from Mysore City Corporation had visited the station and sprinkled bleaching powder around the area. “We do not want to take a risk using the toilets. They are not fit to use,” added another lady official. 

The college has three polling booths and excluding men, there are about 8 to 10 women officials. But there are only four toilets (two each for men and women).

Another person in the next booth, who did not want to be named, said, “Going to the village as polling officer is far better than working in the city. Though I have worked as a polling officer for 16 years, I have never faced such problems.”