Recently, Education Minister Vinod Tawde had to fend off allegations of misappropriation for pushing a Rs 191-crore contract for fire extinguishers. One of Tawde’s justifications for doing so was the fact that about Rs 18 crore of the school education budget would have otherwise lapsed with the financial year coming to a close. However, while Tawde tried to utilise the available budget to the fullest in the school education department, in another portfolio that he holds, he let a sizeable budget lapse, sources in the Chief Minister’s Office said. “So many questions can be raised for spending large sums towards the end of the year that this year in one department the bureaucrat who heads it actually decided to let a good amount lapse,” said a senior official.
Avoiding US, & controversy
Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil had an invitation to be present as a special guest at the 17th Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal Convention in Los Angeles. Vikhe-Patil had given his consent and accordingly tied up with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s delegation that was on an eight-day official tour to the US. Incidentally, since Fadnavis was also invited as chief guest for the same function, he suggested that Vikhe-Patil travel along with the state delegation. However, a spate of controversies regarding Panjaka Munde and Vinod Tawde followed by the monsoon session beginning July 13 made Vikhe-Patil change his mind. He said, “I decided not to go to the US. Why give a chance to anybody to create a controversy?”
The ‘missing’ portfolio
Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is extremely happy with the pressure building on the Centre to fast-track infrastructure work related to Maharashtra. Recently, Prabhu said, “Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis may be holding a series of portfolios in Maharashtra. But one portfolio that should be attributed to him is missing. We should also add Ministry of Railways to his portfolios.” He acknowledged that Maharashtra had taken a major lead among 22 states when it came to pushing railway projects. The CM’s response? “Well, the rate at which Prabhu is moving ahead, I am sure my railway portfolio will become redundant after three to four months.” Some mutual admiration there.
Pop-up meals hosted by home chefs at their private spaces have introduced foodies in the city to a variety of cuisines, such as Bengali, Bihari, Kashmiri and even the popular Kerala Sadhya. Now, a new concept space in the city will let out their kitchen to these home chefs, and even professional and visiting chefs, to design the fare of their choice. The all-day cafe, Community, threw open its doors on Linking Road last week and currently features an Asian and Mediterranean menu curated by chef David Cannanzi, formerly with Mezzo Mezzo. The menus will change every month and the space also features a 12-seater community table. What’s better than shared culinary adventures to spark new friendships?