On the eve of civic elections,nearly 75,000 government officials,including police personnel and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) employees,were busy sprucing up the polling booths and readying paperwork,ramps and signages.
While security was in place at nearly all the sites since Wednesday morning,some booths were not fully ready until evening. We were asked to report for duty by noon,but there was nothing set up till nearly 4 pm. We had to wait as even the classrooms were closed, said Shraddha Potnis,a BMC employee on election duty at a booth in ward number 183 in Dadar.
There are about five government employees at each booth,one presiding officer,one assistant presiding officer,two polling officers and one peon.
In all the 24 wards,election officers had to collect their e-voting machines from one central location,after which the officials were ferried to their respective booths.
We will conduct a mock poll on Thursday from 6 -7 am to check the e-voting machines, said Sangita Patil,BMC teacher and election official at Santacruzs Patuck College of Arts and Commerce.
Some centres have gone an extra mile in making voting a hassle-free experience. For instance,the polling booths at the Ramkrishna Paramhans municipal school in Bandras Nirmal Nagar slums have put up a large hoarding from the State Election Commission,displaying all polling booths in the area along with the returning officers contact number and the election office helpline number.
The BMC has declared 207 polling booths as sensitive and has installed CCTV cameras at four centres identified as extremely sensitive. One such centre is at the Oswal Jain Girls School on Samuel Street. In addition to regular deployment of one constable per booth and one police sub-inspector per polling location,this highly sensitive centre has an additional home guard deployed at each booth,two assistant police sub-inspectors and 12 personnel from state reserve police force.