HYDERABAD: With elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC)fast approaching, government employees have been making trips to the GHMC head office, seeking exemption from poll duty.
“Exempt us from election duty,” has been the plea of hundreds of government officials. They are citing everything from ill-health, pregnancy, and several other reasons.
Polling staff deployed by the GHMC from Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Nalgonda, Medak and Mahbubnagar districts are making a beeline to GHMC office with medical certificates seeking exemption from poll duties.
The numbers are increasing with each passing day and GHMC left with no other option but asking them to submit their representation and informing them that necessary action would be taken by senior officials in the next few days.
A superintendent in MPDO of Kohir mandal, who underwent a surgery for spinal injury some time ago, was deployed for polling duty. He came to the GHMC head office with crutches and submitted representation seeking exemption from poll duties.
‘’Sir I am not in a position to move because of spinal surgery and doctors advised me rest for few months. Here I am submitting my medical records for perusal and hope that you take necessary action and exempt me from poll duties,’’ he said.
Another 56-year-old woman Zohra Begum came to the office with a walker assisted by her family members, and sought exemption from poll duties.
A mother of a new-born and another woman in advanced stage of pregnancy were among those who requested the authorities to exempt them from poll duties.
Though the employees are producing medical certificates, we are helpless as there is a big shortage of employees for the election, an official said.
Most of the women deployed on election duty were unwilling to work, citing various reasons like lack of toilets, drinking water, bathrooms and electricity in most of the polling booths.
In addition, there is pressure from higher officials and politicians to relieve their recommended employees from election duties.
GHMC has deployed 46,545 polling personnel including 7,760 in reserve, officials said.
Many senior employees suffering from ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart aliments are submitting letters stating that they cannot perform poll duties.
Officials said they are ready to respond to genuine reasons. ‘’ We are looking into their requests. We will not tolerate those who cite silly reasons such as backache or having to look after their aged parents,’’ GHMC officials said.
‘’Most of us also have aged parents and we also suffer from backaches, but we don’t cite that as a reason to escape poll duty. Only genuine cases would be looked into,’’ the officials added.