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Booth Level Officers demand their dues

BLOs who have one part (polling station) assigned to them are supposed to get Rs 3,000 per annum.

Teaching and non-teaching staff, who work as election officials, say they have not received remuneration for more than two years. Teaching and non-teaching staff, who work as election officials, say they have not received remuneration for more than two years.

Teaching and non-teaching staff who have taken up the responsibility of Booth Level Officers (BLOs) and play a role in updating electoral rolls and distributing voters’ slip among other poll-related duties have a common grouse. They say they have not been receiving remuneration for over two years.

BLOs who have one part (polling station) assigned to them are supposed to get Rs 3,000 per annum. BLOs who cover more than one polling station expect a honorarium of Rs 750 per part per annum over and above Rs 3000. A variable component of Rs 4 or Rs 5 is paid for each Photo Electoral Roll (PER) entry, depending on whether they cover less than 90 per cent, or is 90 per cent or more.

Speaking with Newsline, several BLOs said they received “rude answers” from election officials when they made inquiries about remuneration. “I have been working as a BLO since a year before Lok Sabha polls. Till date, I have not received remuneration. When I asked some senior election authorities about dues, they said I should keep doing assigned work silently without raising any query. The authorities said I should be satisfied with the salary I get from my college,” said a BLO associated with a leading local college, requesting anonymity.

Another BLO said non-teaching staff with relatively lower pay package often end up paying from their own pockets for election work. “We have to travel considerably during election duty and bear conveyance expenses on our own. For distribution of voters’ slip, we have to make a lot of phone calls to locate addresses. Every month, it is difficult for us to run the house with meagre salaries. The expenses on poll duty burn holes in our pockets,” he said.

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Considered a “representative” of Election Commission of India at the “grassroot level” who plays a pivotal role in electoral roll revision and collection of field information, BLO pays house-to-house visits to check overlapping, migration, transfer/shifting of voters and to identify shifted/dead/non-existing electors so that the list is corrected. BLOs also collect photos and mobile numbers of voters and distribute Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC).

“Though BLO is not a full-time electoral official, we put in more than 100 per cent effort every time. Most of us have to discharge election duty, besides our jobs. Considering fixed and variable remuneration, each BLO is entitled to Rs 5,000 per annum. Our dues should be released at the earliest,” said a BLO.

When contacted, Samiksha Chandrakar Gokule, Deputy District Election Officer, said she needs to verify details about remuneration. “Remuneration is given to BLOs on a yearly basis. I have to check records,” she said. The exact number of BLOs in Pune district could not be ascertained but they formed a major chunk of the 46,000-plus polling staff.

First published on: 17-10-2014 at 06:11:25 am
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