‘Physically disabled’ government officials appointed poll duties by authorities

Posted on Apr 7 2014 - 12:45pm by IBC News

Ranchi: The Lok Sabha elections in Jharkhand will be held in three phases on April 10, 17 and 24. In the meanwhile, the polling authorities have committed a bizarre error.

In Jharkhand, several physically disabled government officials have been assigned with the poll duties.

The 42-year-old Raj Kumar who walks with the help of a crutch has been appointed as the poll officer for the election period.

Kumar told Mail Today ‘In the official letter, it is clearly mentioned that I am handicapped. Still they assigned me on poll duty. Even if I report to the polling booth, I will be unable to discharge my duty in right earnest.’

Similarly, John Barla who shares the same plight as Kumar has been made the presiding officer for Lok Sabha elections in the region. Barla is an assistant teacher at the middle school. He is physically handicapped and uses a crutch to move.

John Barla, 55, told Mail Today ‘I submitted an application before the block development officer- cum- block election officer on Saturday. But he blamed me for filing my application late, due to which he said he has no power to delete my name from poll duty now.’

Similar is the case with Devanad Jha as well.

He is also assigned the poll duty of presiding officer which he might not be able to deliver. Jha is employed at the state irrigation department.

‘I have come to the Deputy Commissioner’s office for requesting the seniors to remove my name from the poll duty list’, he told Mail Today.

Vinay Choubey, the Returning Officer and Deputy Commissioner of the region said that complete verification will be done in the case in order to differentiate genuine cases. Also, such cases of physically challenged employees will be exempted, he said.

Notably, Federation of University Teachers Association of Jharkhand want senior teachers to be exempted from poll duties. Thus, it has threatened the authorities to take legal action against them.