New Delhi, May 6: A contingent of 500 paramilitary personnel had to undertake an over 32-hour journey in an 'election special' train in which three bogies "did not have toilets", a complaint has alleged.
Officials said the forces have registered a complaint in this regard with the Central Reserved Police Force, the nodal force for poll deployment in the states, and the Election Commission.
On May 1, the security personnel drawn from CISF and certain other forces were 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 saying, "It is intimidated that we have been alloted train no: 00297 for the move of (contingents from) CISF battalions 511 and 513.
While examining the coaches, it is found that three bogies don't have toilets and these have 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 said, "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 alternative arrangement" made for them, the official said.
He said it is a "very rare occasion" that such a train rake, with unkempt seats, had 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 insides taken by the troops, has been attached to the complaint which has been sent for undertaking proper action, the official said.
The personnel, he said, were moving after finishing the fifth phase of polls in West Bengal to get deployed for the single-phase election in Tamil Nadu on May 16. "This contingent is one among 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, noting that recently 500 men of ITBP were moved from Kolkata to Kochi in Kerala by an Air India Dreamliner plane.