Poll duty: Security forces allege missing toilets in train

New Delhi, May 5: A section of personnel of the paramilitary forces has alleged that 500 men had to travel a nearly 2,000-km journey in an 'election special' train in which three of the bogies "did not have toilets" and seats were unkempt.

Officials said the forces have registered a complaint in this regard with the Central Reserved Police Force, the nodal force for election deployment in the states, and the Election Commission.

CISF guards

The case pertains to an incident that occurred on May 1 when security personnel drawn from the CISF and few other forces were about to board an 'Election Special' train from Dankuni in West Bengal to Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, a distance close to 2,000-km, covered in over 32 hours.

The commander of the unit then sent a compliant to the Dankuni Station Master claiming, "It is intimidated that we have been alloted train no: 00297 for the move of CISF battalion 511 and 513. While examining the coaches, it is found that three bogies don't have toilets as well as not have been inter-connected with each other. In the above situation travelling two days is not feasible for the personnel.

"Hence, it is requested that to change the mentioned three bogies with alternative arrangement immediately." A senior official involved in election monitoring and deployment of security forces told PTI, "An acknowledged copy of the complaint has now been sent to both the Central Industrial Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force headquarters here which has now been communicated to the EC and also to the Railway Ministry."

The troops had to undertake the journey as there was "no alternate arrangement" made for them, the official said. The official said it is a very rare occasion when such a train rake, with unkempt seats and bed, has been provided to the forces which are instrumental in ensuring free and fair conduct of the polls.

The complaint along with the pictures of the train taken by the troops' unit have been appended in the complaint which has been sent for undertaking proper action, the official said. The troops, the official said, are moving after finishing the fifth phase of polls in West Bengal to get deployed for the single-phase polls in Tamil Nadu on May 16.

"This is one amongst the early parties being de-inducted from states where polls have got over and many more will now be dispatched from West Bengal and other parts of the country to poll-bound Tamil Nadu and Kerala. "We don't want a repeat of such incidents which demotivate and trouble troops," the official said pointing out the fact that recently 500 men of the ITBP were moved from Kolkata to Kochi in Kerala on an Air India Dreamliner.


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