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Packed on an office terrace, polling staff ‘wage’ a struggle

“The terrace of the building, we had to stand on, was fully packed and we couldn’t even breathe. People were stamping on each other in that space which was not properly lit.

Published: 08th April 2021 03:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th April 2021 03:56 AM   |  A+A-

A paramilitary personnel having lunch near a booth in Puduchery. (Photo | G Pattabi Raman/EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Following a painstaking day’s work at polling stations, over 250 reserve polling staff were forced to wait on a Corporation office terrace till 9.30 pm on Tuesday for their payment. With no arrangements made even for food, many of them who could not afford hotel food had to go hungry the entire day. Sources said that a woman had even fainted during the wait.

Staff of government departments, including Education and Railways, had come to Chennai for poll duty. One person who was stationed at Nungambakkam Girls School said, “On Monday, the toilets were clean and everything was fine. However, the next day we struggled to even get a can of water.”

The staff, who had reported for duty at 5 am, were asked around 6 pm to leave for Corporation office at Nungambakkam for collecting their payment -- Rs 1,300 for polling officers and Rs 1,700 for presiding officers. 

“The terrace of the building, we had to stand on, was fully packed and we couldn’t even breathe. People were stamping on each other in that space which was not properly lit. Some light streaming from a playground was our only saving grace.

Many of us had come from far away areas and we could leave only by 9.30 pm,” a school teacher said. The Electoral Registration Officer, who is also the zonal officer for Nungambakkam, did not comment on the matter even after multiple attempts.



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