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Poll Code rider fear prompts officers to shy away from drought work

Friday, May 10, 2019
By A Special Correspondent

Although the Election Commission of India (ECI) has relaxed the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in view of the drought conditions in the state, its rider that the state government cannot avail the services of those officials engaged in counting of votes is what preventing officials from cooperating with the government in implementation of drought relief works, remarked Minister for Revenue Chandrakant Patil. Speaking to newspersons at Mantralaya after chairing the cabinet sub-committee meeting on drought measures, he said that the officials out of fear of violation of the MCC are refusing to cooperate with the government in the drought relief measures.

He said that almost all the officials engaged in the polling duty are also engaged in the counting of votes on May 23, hence despite being called for meeting by guardian ministers and ministers the officials are refusing to attend any meetings. Patil said that during his recent visit to drought prone Solapur district local district collector advised him not to come to his office even for tea, lest it should be construed as a violation of the poll code. Echoing similar sentiments Minister for Medical Education Girish Mahajan stated that even tehsildars are refusing to accompany them on visits to drought affected regions out of the fear of violating the poll code. Mahajan added that the ECI should have relaxed the poll code norms further as it is hampering the drought relief works.

Patil further disclosed that the government has relaxed the norms for granting administrative approvals to drought relief works till June 15. He said that this will facilitate granting approvals to providing drinking water through tankers to villages, temporary drinking water supply schemes, cattle camps and cattle fodder camps. The government has decided to implement tagging all cattle at cattle camps in the scarcity hit regions so as to ensure that fodder and compensation reaches them effectively.

Replying to queries over the Supreme Court of India (SCI) refusing to stay the verdict of Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court staying the implementation of 16 percent reservation quota for Maratha youths in post graduate medical courses, he assured the Maratha youths that there reservation quota seats will not be affected and that the state will urge the Center to increase the quota of seats.

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