Election flying squads are facing a unusual problem while carrying out their regular work. The issue is dearth of funds for fuel for election vehicles.
The flying squads, which are one of the seven important teams involved in monitoring process assisting the election commission to implement the model code of conduct. So, these teams should always be on the move and for this vehicle is a vital necessity. But they are being sanctioned adequate funds for fuel expenses. “This may take a toll on our work,” rue some members of the squad.
A flying squad would be led by an official in the rank of a Tahsildar/Deputy tahsildar/block development officer (with executive magisterial power) along with a Sub Inspector and two cops plus a video-grapher to cover their daily activities. Their duty is to ensure to stop illegal movement of cash or other freebies, which may be used to bribe voters. These squads would also constantly maintain a vigil on electoral campaigns to prevent any kind of code breach.
The State election commission would sanction election funds for all districts. Now the fuel tokens have been given to them but it had not reached many squads. So, members of poll flying squads were filling diesel for their vehicles on credit basis from fuel stations, said a deputy tahsildar, whose team has been posted on duty in one of the constituencies in Madurai district. “We have to fill up at least 10 litres of diesel for 8-hour-duty in a day.
However, this quantity would vary based on the size of constituencies. But, what is embarrassing is that some petrol station owners have started insisting on payments”, lamented another Deputy Tahsildar.
Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar said, “No complaints have been received so far from any of the district collectors.”