While Foreign Secretary designate Sujatha Singh has already joined the Ministry of External Affairs as OSD,stories about the events leading to the announcement of her elevation continue to dominate the discussions in the South Block. It turns out that External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid got to know about her appointment when he was overseas in Brunei. At the Indian ambassadors residence when he was informed of Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs approval,the affable minister asked the Indian envoy to open a bottle of champagne to celebrate it.
WITH BSPs Hamirpur MP Vijay Bahadur Singh choosing to take a different line from party supremo Mayawati,be it his defence of Narendra Modi over the latters controversial puppy remark or on the court ruling banning caste rallies,party circles are abuzz with speculation. Mayawati denied him the ticket this time and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was also said to have rejected his overtures. Singh is said to have set his sights on the BJP now. He was learnt to have met BJP president Rajnath Singh recently to explore his prospects. Vijay Bahadur Singhs close associates claimed that Modi had spoken to him after he came out in his defence. BJP leaders are upbeat about the fact that sitting MPs are knocking on its doors. They find it a good omen ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
CPWD,the largest body of government engineers,has a peculiar problem at hand lack of work. CPWD DG V K Gupta recently conceded that the CPWD did not have enough work at hand. He said not much construction work being done in the country was being given to them. They had also taken up the matter with the ministry concerned. Incidentally,UD minister Kamal Nath had pulled up the agency for shoddy construction work a few months back.
AN enthusiastic Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been quick to rush to damaged heritage sites but has been running into some roadblock or the other. Their expert team had managed to fly to the Kedarnath temple but were unable to land and assess the damage due to turbulent weather. They had to return with aerial images of the damage. Subsequently,ASI teams visit to the bomb-hit Bodhgaya temple was also not without problems. The site had been sealed off by investigative agencies,which were not very keen to let the ASI team go very close to the temple. Considerable coaxing did buy them a little time but it was not enough to conduct a full-fledged technical survey to assess the damage. An undeterred ASI,meanwhile,has packed off yet another team by road to Kedarnath. They have reached as far as Guptkashi and is now exploring ways to get to the shrine.