Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday barred free movement of journalists at government offices located at Nabanna, the new secretariat in Howrah.
Thursday onwards, journalists will be designated to the press corner on the first floor of Nabanna and will not be allowed to enter any of the government departments without prior permission of the authorities concerned.
Nabanna houses major departments such as home, finance, hill affairs, land and land reforms, information and culture, fire and disaster management, minority affairs and the Chief Minister’s Office.
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The order, issued Wednesday by Ashoke Biswas, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Reserve Force), Kolkata Police, which handles security of Nabanna and Writers’, said: “Mediamen are supposed to remain only at the press corner on the first floor….until and unless they are informed or allowed by competent authority to go to any of the department at Nabanna for photo session or press briefing.”
Clause 5 of Wednesday’s order further adds: “Movement of mediamen from the press corner to any other part of Nabanna without visitor’s photo entry slip or approval of competent authority for the purpose of media coverage is literally breach of the SOP and also prejudicial to security of the VIPs and official secrecy of various departments of the government.’’
Mamata’s move comes after a major scuffle between mediamen and police at the Nabanna recently when Governor M K Narayanan had come to release the government’s administrative calendar. Following the scuffle, journalists had lodged a verbal complaint with the Governor.
Interestingly, Mamata, before assuming power, had promised that she would restore the press corner at the VIP corridor at Writers’, where it was earlier located but was removed by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee when he was minister for information and culture in 1996.