Poll duties, election campaigns affect government functioning

May 10th, 2009 - 1:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Agra, May 10 (IANS) The “no work” culture at most government offices since the first week of April has hit the common man as even routine jobs are being postponed pending the formation of a new government after May 16.
Work in most government offices has come to a virtual standstill.

Tula Ram, a farmer from Khairagarh tehsil, has been visiting the Vikas Bhavan every few days to get his pension card updated but the babus are busy discussing the finer points of the political scene. Payments are held up, and civil works await clearance of tenders.

Offices wore a deserted look as babus, officials and even chaprasis moved out for poll duties and several rounds of training in the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). The senior officers have also not been sitting in their offices and are busy with “election work”.

The government and state-aided schools were also affected as polling booths had to be prepared. Children thus enjoyed an extended holiday.

The police too moved out leaving the roads and the police stations to home guards and private security personnel. “As the thanas (police stations) had no police, the crime graph showed an alarming rise and the busy road crossings witnessed unending traffic jams,” said social activist Netra Pal Singh.

Banks too have had five days off, hitting financial operations and business activities. “Thanks to the parallel economy, the common man does not feel the impact of financial institutions remaining closed for so long,” said Sudhir Gupta, a financial consultant.

Though the election duties are over, the babus have yet to get back to the pre-election rhythm. “Till a new government is formed at the centre, the government officials are not likely to pick up the threads and resume work. They are behaving as if they have a great stake in the formation of the government,” comments Surendra Sharma, a hotelier.

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