Hierarchy mix-up in assigning duty for polling personnel in Nadia

Hierarchy mix-up in assigning duty for polling personnel in Nadia

Biswabrata Goswami

KRISHNAGAR, 1 MARCH: Concern has been raised over the alleged mix-up in assigning duty to polling personnel in many polling stations in Nadia district.

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According to sources, while officials from different departments in junior categories have been assigned as Presiding Officers or Micro Observers in many polling stations, those in the rank of Post Master cadres or Postal Assistant cadres, school teachers or officers have been designated as Polling Officer (PO) 1, PO 2, or PO 3.

Sanatan Ghosh, Mahir Ali Sheikh, Biplab Bhanjan Pramanik, Asit Kumar Das and Sourabh Paul, postmen at Krishnagar Head Post Office have been posted as micro observers while the postal assistants – Anuj Biswas, Abhijit Chanda, Subrata Kumar Mitra, Nilanjan Ghosh, Satyajit Guin, Gautam Sinha and Gaur Sundar Mondal – have been posted as the first polling officer (PO1).

This apart some school teachers have been posted as the first polling officers while a few postmen have been assigned for micro observers.

Micro Observers have a very crucial role to play in ‘the conduct of an independent, free and fair election. These micro observers would directly work under control and supervision of the General Observer.

The Presiding Officer will be in charge of a polling station and has many responsibilities, including filling up of a number of forms, submission of reports, and take decisions in case of any issues. POs 1, 2, and 3 will be responsible for activities like verification of voter on the electoral roll, applying indelible ink and keeping control of Electronic Voting Machine’s control unit.

An official involved in election work in the district said that in some polling stations, while junior rank employees from different offices were designated as micro observers or presiding officers, senior personnel with high rank designations have been assigned under them. “It will be a difficult task for them to execute their job since they may not have carried out that duty in the past elections,” he said, adding that such mix-up has probably happened due to some technical negligence.

When asked Mr Biswas said, “There are a lot of discrepancies in allotting duties in the election. Being a postal assistant, I have been asked to perform the duty of first polling officer while my subordinate staff has been given the duties of a micro observer.”

Mr Biswas also said, “Postmen having basic pay of Rs 25000 have been appointed as micro observers while post master cadre (basic pay more than Rs 40000 or postal assistant cadre (basic pay more than Rs 30000) have been assigned as first polling officers. In a same booth, a postman would be micro observer while his postmaster would perform as first polling officer. Same thing was happened in 2019 election.”

Sources at the District Election Office said that the mix-up happened due to inaccuracies in the feeding of data to software, which is used to assign duty to officials to avoid human interference and bias. “The software decides the role based on the pay-scale mentioned in the forms submitted by officials. This detail was not fed properly to the software, which resulted in the problem,” an official said.

When asked Partha Ghosh, district magistrate, Nadia said, “I will look into this matter if there is any discrepancy in allotting duties in the election. But, no appointment for micro observer has been made yet.”

Hummingbird News has accessed a message sent by DM, Nadia to one Saurabh Paul, a postman where it has mentioned, “COVID Vaccination for Micro Observers on 1 and 2 March’ 21 is rescheduled to 5th March’ 21 due to unavoidable reasons. Venue and Time will remain unchanged.”

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