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Poll duty for teachers: no water,no toilets,night alone in temple

Over 100 teachers of Jai Hind School,Pimpri,who served as polling agents for the April 23 elections in Pune district...

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune |
April 30, 2009 1:29:45 am

Over 100 teachers of Jai Hind School,Pimpri,who served as polling agents for the April 23 elections in Pune district,have returned with allegations of administrative negligence in providing them basic facilities like toilets and drinking water.

They said the nightmare began before polling day when they had to wait for five hours before they were directed to their respective centres. They had reported by 10 am,as directed,on the Agriculture College premises.

“We just waited and waited in the sun. Nobody even bothered to give us a glass of water,” said Deepali Joshi,a senior teacher (names changed).

Another senior teacher was suffering from hypertension and wanted to submit an application that she be excused. She waited for hours but found nobody to accept her application.

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Some teachers were shunted from place to place. “We were first asked to go to Ambegaon,then packed into crammed buses to Bhor,” said one. “We were first asked to go to Ghodegaon,then taken to Manchar and then again to Khairewadi,about 65 km away,” said Geeta Patil,another teacher.

More trouble lay in store at the centres. “At Warkote Khurd centre,we had to walk for 15 minutes to get a toilet and drinking water,” said another teacher.

Vaishali Sathe was forced to spend the night inside a temple at Tamini village in Mulshi. “At 8.30 pm,the electricity went off. I was scared witless,” she said. Another teacher was put up at a villager’s home. “I had to sleep in the courtyard and was bitten by mosquitoes all over,” she said.

Teachers complained about unhygienic food too. “In Mulshi,the entire day they did not serve us food. When they finally served some khichdi,it stank. On top of that they charged us Rs 100 per plate,” said a teacher.

Ragini Ashtaputre,who was on the reserve list,had to keep biding her time at the Annasaheb Magar Stadium in Nehrunagar without any seating arrangement. “While returning EVMs to officials,we had to wait hours in serpentine queues,” said Sathe. “We were dropped in the city well past midnight with no arrangement to reach home.”

Principal of the school Jean Fernandes agreed teachers had a bad experience. “Is it sensible to ask one teacher to stay with five men in one room? One of our teachers had to sleep in the temple all alone,” said Fernandes. adding that many teachers struggled to find water and toilets.

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