LS polls: EC asks railways to ensure smooth movement for CAPF personnel

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 21-02-2024 16:37 IST | Created: 21-02-2024 16:37 IST
LS polls: EC asks railways to ensure smooth movement for CAPF personnel
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The Election Commission (EC) has directed the railway board to ensure ''smooth and hassle-free'' train movement for more than 3.4 lakh security personnel being deployed for the upcoming general and assembly elections with specific instructions to avoid recurrence of delays noticed in the past.

The poll panel has sought setting up of a 24x7 control room which will oversee this mega cross-country movement of the troops over the next few months and to make adequate arrangements for fans and air conditioning in coaches, meals, medical facilities at stations on route, availability of special and splinter bogies and pest control in the wagons during this exercise period.

The EC, in a communication issued to the railway board last week, said ''a large-scale'' deployment of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and police forces drawn from various states for election purpose was essential as they will undertake and ensure area domination, confidence building measures, poll day duties and guarding of EVM/centres, etc.

As many as 3,400 companies of the CAPFs and state police forces have been requisitioned by the EC for ensuring free and fair polls during the upcoming general elections and assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim.

''Deployment of CAPFs to various states/UTs involves rail movement and the ministry of railways has therefore a significant role to play in induction and de-induction of these forces,'' the EC communication accessed by PTI said.

It expressed a particular concern over ''delay'' in movement of forces and ''inconvenience'' faced by its personnel, which was raised by the ministry of home affairs (MHA), during rail travel for election duty in 2022 and 2023.

The railways should address these concerns so as to avoid recurrence of such incidents during train journey of security forces. The issue of availability of rolling stock recurred in the recent elections in November-December 2023, resulting into delay in movement of forces, the EC said.

The poll panel has asked the ministry of railways to appoint nodal officers at its headquarters and zonal offices for ''smooth coordination'' of this movement, ensuring availability of rolling stock (bogies), comfortable seating and resting arrangement for security personnel and provision of essential facilities such as electricity, water, fans, ACs, etc., keeping in mind the summer season.

The ministry has also been asked to ensure deployment of cleaning staff for maintaining hygiene and undertaking pest control measures to ensure cleanliness in the coaches apart from directing the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to appoint nodal officers for providing meals to the personnel on move.

The poll body has also desired that the railways deploy ''dedicated'' officers and staff for timely inspection of these trains and ensuring AC-II tier and AC-III tier bogies for the personnel and officers of these forces.

In order to ensure that these contingents do not face delays, the EC has asked the railway board to ensure that ''priority'' is given to all the special trains carrying troops and in case of their halt at any railway station due to non-availability of connecting trains, ''suitable accommodation and meals be provided'' to these teams.

The railways has also been asked to provide medical facilities or first aid kits on these ''election special'' coaches and provision to resolve all issues related to maintenance and mechanical faults in these trains.

''In view of the above, it is requested that necessary action be taken and directions may be issued to all concerned to ensure smooth and hassle-free mobilisation of forces via rail,'' the EC said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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