CM listens as MLAs grumble
Congress MLAs gave full vent to their ire against their government at a meeting Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna had called at his home last week. Following the flash floods of June,the MLAs were unhappy with the governments handling of the situation in their constituencies. Some were upset at the delay in the restoration of road links,while most MLAs highlighted the poor distribution of relief material. The chief minister heard each one out,apparently a strategy to allow them to let off steam and keep his flock together ahead of a possible visit by the UPA chairperson to areas hit by the disaster. Besides,the assembly will be in session from September 18,and the opposition BJP is likely to attack the government over the issue.
Work at temple
The Engineering Projects (India) Ltd,which has been tasked with removing silt and debris from the Kedarnath temple so that puja there can resume by a September 11 deadline,is waiting for the machines to enable it to do so. These need to be airdropped at Kedarnath town but poor weather has not yet allowed a helicopter to fly over the valley. Besides,the government is yet to start work on the construction of prefabricated houses that can accommodate the people who will perform the puja. Road links remain snapped. The Congress-led UPA is keen to to send out a message that normalcy has returned before the process for the 2014 elections begins,while the BJP is keen to use the disaster as a potential election issue.
Fetching the mules
Former chief minister B C Khanduri has been regularly touring the disaster-hit areas and his office has been providing updates on his efforts. One press statement from his office has expressed gratitude to the Border Roads Organisation for addressing one of the problems arising out of the flash floods after he had raised it with the BRO. Mules had been stuck on the Govindghat side in Alaknanda valley following the collapse of a bridge,their owners in Joshimath had told Khanduri. Khanduri,a retired Army major general,got in touch with BRO officers and they built a temporary bridge at the site of the collapse,enabling the return of 700 mules,the statement said.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid,who delivered a public policy lecture at Doon University last week,stressed before students and retired army officers that disputes with neighbouring countries issues should be resolved through dialogue. The lecture,which provides the ministrys public division cell a platform to assert its foreign policy before the public,came this year at a time when Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was accusing the Centre of a soft stand towards neighbouring countries. Salman stressed the need for dialogue even to end a war,and described the option of war as an obstruction in the way of the countrys development.