Poll staff go without food, sleep; stage protest

Poll staff go without food, sleep; stage protest

The government employees deputed for BBMP poll duty staged a protest at a mustering centre in KR Puram for not providing them with breakfast and meals till evening on Friday.

According to sources in the Palike, most of the polling staff have been drawn from Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts. These officials started arriving at the mustering centres since Thursday night itself.

Around 4,000 officials had assembled at ITC centre in KR Puram on Friday morning and they were to be shifted to respective polling booths after meals. These poll officials had no sleep on Thursday night due to poor arrangements. They were neither provided breakfast in the morning. There was no sign of meals in the noon.

The distraught officials called the nodal officer in charge of the arrangements. He made only hollow assurances. Since no one turned up till 2.30 pm, the poll personnel again called the officers concerned and threatened to boycott the elections if they were not provided with food. Since there was no response, the officials staged a demonstration raising slogans.

Minutes later, BBMP officers descended on the scene with food, which was not sufficient even for one-third of the people there. There was protest once again. It is said that policemen were also disappointed with non-availability of food. It was only by about 4.30 pm that the food was brought and all the officials could have their meals.

An official said on condition of anonymity that many of them suffer from hypertension and diabetes and hence need to take food on time.

“Most of us did not take food outside as we were assured that meals will be supplied between 12.30 pm and 1 pm,” the official said.When contacted, BBMP Commissioner G Kumar Naik said he was not aware of the delay in supply of food at ITC mustering centre.

“There are 22 mustering centres across the City. My instructions to my subordinates were that food should reach the mustering centres between 1 pm and 2 pm. There were no problems in almost all the places barring the KR Puram centre. I will see why my directions were not followed,” said Naik.

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