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4K govt officers protest against poll duty, tell EC allowance not at par with their pay-scale

Kolkata: More than 4000 officers of constituted state services under the banner of Joint Forum for West Bengal State Service Officers have submitted a memorandum to Chief Electoral officer (CEO) of Bengal, protesting against arbitrary assignment of election duty which they feel is not in parity with their seniority and pay scale. The forum has urged for immediate intervention of state CEO Ariz Aftab in redressal of their grievances.

"Officers of constituted state services are also Group A officers of the state government and they come through WBCS examination. They are very senior officers in the rank of Additional/ Joint/ Deputy/ Assistant Director/ Commissioner and Register of different government departments. Previously they were given postings as either sector officers or micro observers but this time most of them have been given postings as Presiding officers and sometimes even polling officers," a senior officer of the state government, who has himself received posting as presiding officer, said.

The memorandum, a copy of which is available with the Millennium Post, bears signature of officers in West Bengal Revenue Service, West Bengal Labour Service, West Bengal Food and Supplies Services, West Bengal Co-Operative Services to name a few.

A senior member of the forum on conditions of anonymity said Additional/ Joint/ Deputy/ Assistant Director/ Commissioner and Register have been assigned duty in such a manner where they would be compelled to work under officers junior in seniority, rank and designation. Usually these officers are either deployed as expenditure observers or micro observers or made in-charge of different cells of the commission. They are sometimes also posted in the sector office.

"In the last election I had worked as a micro observer but this time I am supposed to work as a Presiding officer. One of my colleagues has been posted as third polling officer. This is not all commensurate with our rank and seniority," pointed out an aggrieved official.

The forum has cited verdicts of Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2004 to substantiate their standpoint. "The verdicts have stated clearly that seniority, rank and relative status should be taken into account and it should be ensured that a senior official is not put on election duty under any official who is junior to him," added the official.

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