Teachers weary on being allotted electoral duties to bizarre locations

Mumbai: In an alarming inconvenience, teachers have been allotted electoral duties at areas far away from their colleges and homes. Teachers claim they are unable to find time for academic work as most of their time is consumed in travelling for election duties, while the semester examinations are going on.

Permanent teachers of all government educational institutions have been allotted electoral duties at different monitoring stations, polling booths and camp centres. Most of the teachers are working in three shifts -- morning, afternoon and evening -- in order to keep a 24x7 track of the electoral work, current events, new happenings, citizen data, information of voter identity cards and also media coverage.

A major "anxiety" of teachers is that they have been allotted duties at areas that are far away from their college or university and their residential area. Mangesh Despande, a teacher and a resident of Vasai, said, “I live in Vasai and work as a teacher in a college at Mumbai Central area. But I have been allotted electoral work at Bhandup area. This is completely bizarre because it is impossible for me to travel and complete my duties on time.”

Senior teachers claim the Election Commission should take geographical boundaries into consideration while allocating electoral duties. Nupur Vora, a teacher said, “We will fulfil all electoral duties allotted to us but the Election Commission should depute us at areas that are convenient from our college or home. We are managing the semester examination work at colleges in the morning and then we have to squeeze in time to rush to these centres for the electoral training.”

In addition, winter semester examinations are being conducted at state-run schools, junior and degree colleges. A senior officer of Mumbai University (MU) said, “I am on election duty for almost nine hours per day. It is already difficult to juggle time between examination related procedures so it would help if we are allotted duties in areas which are convenient to travel as it would save time and effort.”

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