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Steel fortress is poll-fatigued

Jamshedpur, June 29: Four Lok Sabha elections in seven years, including two bypolls, and Jamshedpur is feeling the pangs.

The seemingly never-ending electoral process — there have been two rounds of Assembly polls, too, during the time — is taking a toll on the health, education and banking sectors of the region, apart from draining crores of rupees in taxpayers’ money.

Every time that Jamshedpur has gone to the polls, the district administration has requisitioned services of government servants as presiding officers and polling assistants.

Thus, on Friday, too, the onus would fall on doctors, paramedics, teachers, headmasters, bankers and insurance officials to give up their daily jobs and do their bit for democracy.

Most banks within the Jamshedpur constituency have already put up notices apologising for inconvenience to customers in the absence of officials who have been requisitioned for election duty.

But the worst hit has always been the education sector. Several schools, doubling up as polling centres, have, therefore, been forced to declare holidays at the expense of valuable classes. All such government schools and some private institutions will be closed from June 30 till July 4.

Among the prominent private schools in the steel city where academics will be adversely affected by the July 1 by-election are ADLS Sunshine, Andhra Association, DAV Bistupur, DBMS English School, Dayanand Public School, Gulmohur School, Kerala Samajam Model School, Kerala Public School, Motilal Nehru Public School, Loyola School and Sacred Heart Convent.

Several colleges including Mrs KMPM Inter College and Jamshedpur Workers College have also been made polling stations, forcing them to close in the middle of the session.

Worst is the case of Jamshedpur Cooperative College. Since June 15, its building has been taken over to store EVMs and other poll paraphernalia, while the grounds are being used to park vehicles seized for poll duty.

The district administration has constituted 72 medical teams to be deputed in sensitive booths, mostly in Naxalite-affected areas of the parliamentary constituency. Each team would comprise a doctor, three paramedics and nursing staff. This means 72 doctors and 315 paramedics and nursing staff would be away from their regular posts in government hospitals and health centres till July 2.

Ambulances have also been deputed for the period in 16 of the most-sensitive centres.

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