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Presiding officers allege gross mismanagement
Staff Correspondent
 DIBRUGARH, April 17 - Presiding officers engaged in the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls in the election district here, have brought serious allegations of irregularities in the conduct of the general elections here and demanded immediate inquiry by the Election Commission of India and other relevant bodies so as to ensure accountability and transparency.

The presiding officers, particularly those from Dibrugarh University who were deployed for election duties on April 11, expressed anger over the alleged inefficient conduct of the polls in the district. The presiding officers, who immediately convened a meeting at Dibrugarh University on April 12, discussed several issues like gross mismanagement and delay in distribution of poll materials, mess in the transportation arrangement, poor quality food in an unhygienic surrounding, non-release of honorariums for four days of training sessions and mismanagement at the Presiding Officers Diary Checking Cell, among others.

The meeting in its resolution stated that due to the inordinate delays in distribution of poll materials to the polling personnel on duty, some poll parties reached their assigned locations at around 12 midnight. The poll personnel were also made to wait for 5-6 hours after the receipt of their poll materials. The teams had to search around in the Chowkidingee playground up till 7 pm to find their allotted vehicles. Further, some polling teams were given vehicle numbers which actually did not exist. They also lodged a complaint with the General Observer GD Singh about the poor quality of food served in an unhygienic location.

The polling personnel also expressed concern over the non-release of honorariums for four days of training sessions. The Returning Officer of 13 Dibrugarh HPC released only three days of honorariums for attending the training programmes but four days of training sessions were conducted for the Presiding Officers, the meeting said.

The members attending the meeting also stated that the district administration showed total disrespect by not considering the complaints properly which the members described as clear violation of human rights and dignity. Besides, the members also discussed about the release of Welfare Funds to the Returning Officers of all parliamentary constituencies by the Election Commission of India and observed that no such welfare was provided in the 13 Dibrugarh HPC. Even stranded polling personnel were deprived of a bottle of drinking water, they stated.

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