Kolkata confidential

Instead of providing relief,the office of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund has become a source of headache for some

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:January 19, 2009 2:03 am

Relief denied
Instead of providing relief,the office of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund has become a source of headache for some. Given that the site is located at the backyard of the Chief Minister’s Office,the police have demanded that it be removed post haste. The problem,they say,is the chief minister’s security. “Every day the place is thronged by hundreds and the area looks like a fairground,” said a senior police official. “Given the alertness of the police at the main gates of Writers’ Building,this does not augur well for the CM’s security,” he added. The Writers’ may not be well guarded,but one has to give the people responsible full marks for honesty!

Crisis of faith?
The Minister for Land and Land Reforms,Abdur Rezzaq Mollah,is a dejected man these days. Gone is the revolutionary zeal that made him challenge party activities which appeared to him not only anti-party but anti-people. That way,the maverick minister had many a time put the state government in a spot by making adverse remarks about it. But now he has a different tune to sing. “I have lost the spirit as I saw people whom I had trusted had betrayed me in the long run. In fact I have lost faith in human beings,” the minister was heard saying the other day.

Password fails
Minister for Commerce and Industries Nirupam Sen has almost stopped talking to the media these troubled days. Only one topic can draw him out — his hometown,Burdwan. On that,he waxes eloquent. So last week when some journalists asked the minister,who was leaving Writers Building for his home,about a railway project in Burdwan,Sen,who had already hopped into the lift,stopped and gave the details of the project. Finding him talking at last,as soon as a journalist asked him a question on the abandoned Tata Motors site in Singur,he smiled and ordered the liftman to go down.

Hijack drama
It was a unique incident that took place at Gangasagar. While bus and ferry services were suspended since the morning of 15 January,angry pilgrims found a convenient way to register their protest. Instead of waiting for the district administration to provide buses,they hopped on to the buses marked for the Press. Locking the buses from the inside,they flatly refused to get off despite coaxing by the administration. Ultimately,members of the Press had to wait as the administration ferried the protesters to the ghats. The one who missed the drama was District Magistrate Sanghamitra Ghosh,who had strolled away,oblivious of the turmoil behind.

Mind your language
Last week,Rajya Sabha member AS Mahilawadi had a taste of the state’s Muslims’ ire against the Left Front government. At an interactive session with a six-member delegation of the National Minority Commission last week,Mahilawadi tried to defend the state government,saying that Muslims are not discriminated against in the state. The crowds present booed,forcing the MP to stop his speech midway. Later,a red-faced Mahilawadi tried to salvage his image,saying perhaps the audience did not understand his Urdu,which created all the confusion.

Mellowed down
For the state CID,the third week of the New Year has been the best so far,with the prize catch of suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Safiqul. Officers not known for being interactive with the media were all smiles and more than willing to indulge reporters. As one officer put it,Safiqul was on the Interpol’s radar and tracking him down in a remote village in Malda was commendable in terms of gathering specific intelligence. “We have been on the lookout for quite some time now. It’s a good feeling to have succeeded. The higher-ups are pleased with us as well,” the officer grinned. And they refused to lose their good humour,even though they had to wade through corridors overflowing with camera crews and reporters for a whole week!

Loony tunes
Recently,Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee appeared in a television reality show for singing talents and lent her voice in “Mere watan ke logon” at the fag end of the programme. Thereafter,her party leaders and her followers are pouring in with requests for her to sing. A senior leader of the party said: “She sings well,so now district leaders are asking her to attend a rally and after the speech,to sing a verse or two. She has not obliged anyone yet,as far as I know.” Does the participants and audience of that reality show agree? Mercifully,no one has spoken up as yet.

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