Reporter’s Notebook

At defence services functions the host often reads a trail of decorations along with a list describing the bravery,generosity,glory and achievements of the generals,admirals and air marshals who preside over the functions.

Written by Ajay Khape | Published:June 23, 2013 2:39 am

No praises please

At defence services functions the host often reads a trail of decorations along with a list describing the bravery,generosity,glory and achievements of the generals,admirals and air marshals who preside over the functions. At a recent Army function,a comparatively junior officer against the galaxy of one,two,three star generals and even the Army Chief,read the decorations of Army Chief General Bikram Singh prior to his address. When it was turn of defence minister A K Antony to deliver the speech,he again started with a long list of adjectives about the Honourable ‘shri raksha mantri’,but Antony got up cutting him short midway in a gesture that indicated “no need to say so much about me”. The host showed presence of mind and found another adjective to praise Antony,his humbleness. The audience got a slice of the minister’s simplicity that has earned him the tag of ‘Saint Antony.’

Farmer cops

Whenever any crime reporter calls a cop when the latter has a weekly off or is on leave,the expected reply is an irritated “call me later.” But when recently this reporter called an assistant sub inspector with a police station for some information on a Saturday,the reply was amusing. He shouted loudly,“Hello sir. Tell me…” Sound of strong wind could be heard in the background. He further said happily,“I am in my village,in the farm. Sowing is on. I am on leave. Can you call me later?” The conversation ended there,it was reminder of the fact that Maharashtra police draw much of their personnel from rural parts of the state and many of them come from farmers’ families.

Ducking the media

PMC officers are “experts” in interpretating directions and orders of seniors as per their convenience. Mediapersons were shocked when they had to face a peculiar situation in the PMC as all its officers were parroting the same line on any information asked to them. To whatever information was sought,the civic officers said,“Municipal commissioner has directed us to not talk to mediapersons. So,we cannot give any information on any issue or discuss anything with you.” As it spread all over and media carried reports of civic officers being stopped from giving any civic information to the media,municipal chief Mahesh Pathak had to send a message to mediapersons that he never meant to stop information being given to the media. The oral direction was that the civic officers should consult either the municipal commissioner or additional municipal commissioner before giving any information on policy decisions. However,civic officers,taking advantage of the directions,started avoiding mediapersons.

Helmet trouble

Defence authorities prefer to spring surprises for sure. The helmet rule on defence land in the Cantonment, caught many bike riders by surprise. They religiously wear the helmet but on certain days forget it. There is a posse of officials and traffic cops waiting to catch and fine people without helmets. Many residents staying at Wanowrie,Kondhwa,NIBM Road and Hadapsar,who ride their two-wheelers at times without helmets to the other end of the city via the Cantonment and take the M G Road,Camp route were caught unawares. They expressed annoyance. The same is true of people riding in the area where some portion of the land belongs to the defence authorities,and the rest is under Pune Cantonment Board.

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