Nation Politics 05 Feb 2021 Officials seek funds ...

Officials seek funds from SEC for GP polls

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DC CORRESPONDENT
Published Feb 6, 2021, 12:00 am IST
Updated Feb 6, 2021, 12:00 am IST
Gram panchayat secretaries have sought Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh in advance for each gram panchayat depending upon the number of wards
Though majority polling booths are in government schools in villages, a good number of them are yet to get basic amenities, like clean washrooms despite the Nadu-Nedu programme. This is forcing gram panchayat secretaries to make makeshift arrangements for polling staff. (Representational Photo: PTI)
 Though majority polling booths are in government schools in villages, a good number of them are yet to get basic amenities, like clean washrooms despite the Nadu-Nedu programme. This is forcing gram panchayat secretaries to make makeshift arrangements for polling staff. (Representational Photo: PTI)

VIJAYAWADA: Gram panchayat secretaries have appealed to the State Election Commission that funds be released to them in advance, so that they can make timely arrangements for the conduct of gram panchayat polls in Andhra Pradesh.

These officials pointed out that it is their responsibility to make all requisite arrangements at polling booths, like erection of barricades for voters to wait in a queue before voting, pitching up tents to provide them protection from sunlight and making arrangements for drinking water. As polling officials arrive at polling booths the day before polls, they have to arrange for their accommodation, food at night, tea, breakfast, lunch and dinner on the day of polling from 6.30 a.m. In addition, lights, fans, chairs, desks and voting chambers have to be organised.

 

A senior member from AP Panchayat Raj Secretaries Association said, “The onus for making all requisite arrangements at polling booths for conduct of polls lies with us. With no funds available, we have to meet expenses from our pockets. Senior officials issue instructions only on arrangements. But they never tell us about the source of funds. We appeal to SEC to release funds in advance. This will enable us make arrangements for conduct of polls without facing hardships for arranging money.”

Though majority polling booths are in government schools in villages, a good number of them are yet to get basic amenities, like clean washrooms despite the Nadu-Nedu programme. This is forcing gram panchayat secretaries to make makeshift arrangements for polling staff.

 

Gram panchayat secretaries complain that senior officers inspect arrangements and pull them up for not being up to mark, without bothering about the source of funds for hiring wooden poles, tents, lights, fans, benches, desks, buckets, mugs and other requisites. For example, a gram panchayat secretary working at Kolakaluru village of Tenali mandal in Guntur district was placed under suspension by then joint collector for the reason that there was water logging at a polling booth following heavy rainfall before the polling day during 2014 assembly polls. The secretaries say though the panchayat secretary spent Rs. 1 lakh from his pocket for making arrangements at the polling booth, he was still punished.

 

To avoid recurrence of such incidents, gram panchayat secretaries have sought Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh in advance for each gram panchayat depending upon the number of wards, which range from 10 to 16. This will help them make all necessary arrangements for conduct of polls without any trouble, either to voters or polling staff.

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