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With the demise of former President R Venkatraman,the Beating Retreat ceremony was cancelled this year. And everyone knew this,except the IGI Airport...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 2, 2009 12:25:32 am

Clueless IGI
With the demise of former President R Venkatraman,the Beating Retreat ceremony was cancelled this year. And everyone knew this,except the IGI Airport,it seems. In a major administrative goof-up last week that inconvenienced many passengers,the airport became a no-fly zone for non-scheduled operators for at least two hours on January 29. Reason: the Ministry of Home Affairs forgot to inform the Air Traffic Controller about the cancellation of the ceremony. “The ATC should be informed at least a day in advance in such matters. But the Home Ministry officially confirmed it only at 3.50 pm on the day that flying restrictions were to be called off in wake of the cancellation of the beating retreat ceremony,” a senior ATC official said. For no reason the airport was a no-fly zone between 2 pm to 3.50 pm on Thursday.

Slow and steady?
After investigating the cash-for-vote scam for several months,the Lok Sabha Secretariat handed over the investigation to the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch last week. Though the Crime Branch has registered an FIR for corruption in the case,it is unclear whether it will come up with anything. The Crime Branch has been investigating the 2007 Jamia riots for over one and a half years,but even a chargesheet has not been filed till date. Will it fare better with the latest case? We’ll have to wait (for a long time perhaps),and watch.

Sweet revenge
At a time when rebels are giving the CPI(M) a run for its money in Kerala,the party got a small but significant shock at the hands of a dissident in the Capital last week. In the union election of the Kerala House Staff Canteen Committee,a party-backed candidate was defeated by rebel V P Rajeevan. An open supporter of Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan,Rajeevan had been expelled from the employees union and the party for siding with the veteran leader. Some time back,Rajeevan had gained prominence when he shouted slogans against CPI(M)-run Kairali TV’s chairman and film actor Mammootty in front of the media during a function to felicitate V S for the Munnar land eviction operation. For this act,Rajeevan was later publicly given a dressing down by CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan at the Kerala House. Now,the election victory came as a sweet revenge for Rajeevan facing harassment at the hands of the party for some time.

Quick wrap-up
It took the Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah a few seconds to script the end of a seven-year-long public interest litigation against the use of posters in the Delhi University elections. “There cannot be elections without posters,” the Chief Justice said and dismissed the PIL. The jubilant counsel representing the Delhi Government in the case said the petitioner,High Court lawyer Monica Arora,had “herself contested the DU polls in the past.”

No takers
After two years,the Municipal Corporation of Delhi plans to ask Sulabh International to pack its bags. The company,besides maintaining 460 public conveniences for the MCD,has been generating advertisement revenue. The agency was not satisfied with the company even earlier,but had to continue with it since no other company showed interest in maintaining public toilets. However,this time,the Corporation is hopeful that after a good repair of the toilets (from the councillors funds),it will find a company which considers the maintenance of public toilets an ‘attractive’ proposition.

Ahead of schedule
For cops,to get credit for breakthroughs in the media is serious business. But Deputy Commissioner of Police (North Delhi) Sagar Preet Hooda was stunned when some reporters called him,asking about a press release issued by his ‘office’ about an arrest for fake currency. A startled Hooda said the release was to be issued the next day and wondered how the reporters got hold of it. Only later did he realise that he had sent the release to the PRO by accident. And the enthusiastic PRO promptly forwarded it to reporters.

Thrifty ways
Recession has shrunk the pocket money of most students,but the construction around IIT has started emptying their pockets faster than ever. With roads being dug up to make ditches,the cost of a rickshaw ride in the campus has risen from Rs 8 to Rs 20 per trip. So several students have taken to bicycles to cut down on expenses.

No misuse
The flagging off of the Vishwavidyalaya-Jahangirpuri Metro line in January was postponed due to the demise of former President R Venkatraman. Now,the ceremony,scheduled for February 3,will be a low-key affair. Also,in a bid to cut down on expenses,the DMRC has planned a simple ceremony in the presence of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. “It is a misuse of funds to organise a grand ceremony and invite several guests. So it has been decided that this inauguration will be kept a low-key affair,” a DMRC official said.

Personal interest?
So what does one do to shift a DTC bus stop? Simple: file a Public Interest Litigation in the High Court. An annoyed Chief Justice asked the litigant,a South Delhi businessman,the ‘public interest’ behind his petition. The poser elicited a five-minute tirade from the man on the inconveniences of having the bus stop in the area. The Bench abruptly asked a curt question: is the bus stop in front of the gentleman’s house? The answer — “yes” — was followed by an equally abrupt dismissal of the PIL.

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