Mangaluru, May 07 2018: In view of the need to provide food for more than 23,000 staff who will be deputed to 1,858 polling booths across Dakshina Kannada district, the district administration has roped in midday meal workers to provide the same on May 12.
It is a first in state assembly polls, that midday meal workers have been assigned the job to provide ‘bisi oota’ to election officials. Earlier, poll officials had a tough time in finding food, and it was even more difficult if polling stations were situated in remote villages. Villagers provided them food when there were no alternative arrangements available.
“Supplying food on polling day, and the night before, to the entourage of polling officials’ is a herculean task, especially in remote villages. However, to tackle this, election officials in the coastal districts have decided to assign the task to midday meal workers,” said an official coordinator of the Midday Meal Scheme.
As per the plan, midday meal workers will serve dinner on May 11. They will serve breakfast, tea at 11am, lunch as well as evening tea on May 12. “However, the expenses of these meals will be borne by the EC, and only the service of midday meal workers will be utilised,” added the coordinator. The menu for meals include rice, sambar, palya and pickle.
There are about 3,325 midday meal workers in Dakshina Kannada. However, they will not be given any special remuneration for their services on polling day. “They are paid salaries,” maintained an official.
The services of midday meal workers were first utilized during the last general elections. “We used to face a tough time to find food in an unknown place. We faced a lot of problems, and sometimes survived on liquids or biscuits,” recalls a government employee, who has been deputed on election duty across the district on several occasions.