The Telegraph
Saturday , April 19 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Polls over, booths no one’s baby
Empty liquor bottle, litter on campus

Residents might have voted to clean up the political system on Thursday but the day after, the polling booths in the city borne the brunt of litter.

The booths, majority of which were school and college buildings, appeared to be no one’s baby. The alleged negligence of poll officials was evident when The Telegraph did a reality check at some of the polling stations on Friday.

At Bankipore Girls’ High School, one of the major booths, the scene was pathetic. This correspondent found a large number of plastic cups and plates, torn pieces of clothes apart from paper strewn on the campus. Even an empty liquor bottle was visible on the grounds. Apart from officials engaged in polling duty, security personnel had been deployed here on Thursday.

When this correspondent asked one of the school guards about the filth on the campus, he said: “What can we do? The officials and security personnel engaged in poll duty are responsible for this. Thank God the school would be closed until the general election is over. The school administration would get it cleaned.”

When contacted, an official of the school expressed anguish over the matter. “The administration takes possession of schools and colleges to conduct polls. However, it doesn’t hesitate even once to think about maintaining the institutes after polling gets over. It is the duty of the district administration and the district election office to look after the sanitation of the booths. The officials concerned should get it cleaned without wasting time,” he said.

At BN College and Bihar Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, the scene was pretty much similar. Plastics cups, plates and other stuff had been scattered all over. Anil Sulabh, president, Bihar Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, said: “We can’t get the campus cleaned on our own because of the Election Commission’s model code of conduct. But I don’t have a problem to admit that this is the duty of the district administration and district election office.”

Additional chief electoral officer R. Lakshmanan failed to come up with a satisfactory answer when his attention was drawn towards filth at the polling booths. He said: “If the booth is located in a government school or college, it is the duty of the institute to get the campus cleaned. In case of private institutions, the district election office should clean up the mess.”

When The Telegraph asked Lakshmanan about the filth on the campus of the Bihar Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, he said: “How can we get the campus cleaned a day after the polls? The officials engaged in election duty leave the institute on the same day and they don’t get much time to do it. At any booth, around 700-800 people turn up to cast their vote and security personnel, too, are deployed in large numbers. It is obvious that the campus of the schools or colleges would become dirty.”

However, some campuses also were found to be clean. Magadh Mahila College near Gandhi Maidan and Rajkiya Ayurvedic College in Kadamkuan showed contrtasting pictures on Friday, a day after the general election was held in the two constituencies of Pataliputra and Patna Sahib.