Officials in a few polling stations in the city and Tiruvallur district had to undergo an unpleasant experience due to lack of ventilation and toilet facilities. They expressed their displeasure over working under such circumstances.
In one of the polling booths in Choolaimedu, a woman polling official said, “I had to stay here last night. The toilet facility here is so poor and I felt so uncomfortable bathing here at 4 a.m. At the time of such a pandemic, nearly 10 persons are sitting very close to each other in a very small space.”
Similarly, in a few booths in Villivakkam, the polling officials said, each classroom was divided into two by wooden planks or other means and the windows too were shut.
“In two booths, the ceiling fans are not working and a pedestal fan has been arranged, instead. The windows are fully shut and we can’t open them. How can we sit inside in this weather in such a small enclosed space? We should have better ventilation facilities,” a polling official said. In Thousand Lights too, in one of the polling stations, a similar issue persisted.
In a few polling booths in Tiruvallur district, officials said they were not provided with sufficient drinking water. At a booth in Bhakthavatchalam Street, Minjur, officials said they had to buy their dinner and manage with a few bottles of water. There were not sufficient toilet facilities for officials in 12 booths. At a polling booth in Andikuppam, Pazhaverkadu, police personnel who were on duty since Monday said they did not have facilities to bathe.
A few officials also expressed displeasure over the training given to them. “I’m coming for the first time on election duty. After coming here, I realised there is a lot of difference. I wish we had some practical training sessions rather than just presentations,” an official said.
At a polling booth in Teynampet, a volunteer who was distributing gloves to the voters said the booth agents from various political parties had given them food. “There is also just one toilet here and since this is a polling station with nearly 12 booths, there is a lot of crowd,” she said.
(With inputs from K. Lakshmi and Poorvaja Sundar)
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