With his government perpetually in trouble of one kind or the other,Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah surely needs to unwind. And these days,he does so by watching a new television series on detective Sherlock Homes on the BBC channel. Abdullah was recently heard gushing about the television series to a group of friends.
When senior AICC functionary Praveen Davar ran into Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi at the Mathura railway station on Thursday,he thought it was a good opportunity to give the minister his inputs on train services. He told Trivedi that he had been traveling on trains in recent times and most of them happened to be running at least five to six hours late. He expected some sympathy,and probably,assurance but what he got in return was quite a surprise. The moral of the story,Trivedi told him,was that one should travel more by road.
There are as many as 12 Secretary-rank officers in the central government who belong to the Uttar Pradesh cadre,including Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Pulok Chatterji and Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth. This has happened after a very long time and is almost a throwback to the eighties when officers from Uttar Pradesh used to dominate the bureaucracy. In recent times,officers from Kerala have enjoyed preeminent status in the bureaucracy,which is slowly but surely yielding ground to an ascendant UP lobby. The latest to join the pack is Pradeep Kumar Sinha,a 1977-batch officer,who has been appointed the Shipping Secretary. He will take charge from K Mohandas,who belongs to,not surprisingly,Kerala cadre.
Though the Home Ministry continues to insist that the NCTC would come into being from March 1 as planned,the strong objections raised by several state governments have undoubtedly put a question mark on that schedule. With barely a week to go before the date and the Prime Minister assuring the CMs that they would be consulted by the Home Minister many in the government are waiting for the fate of one file that could indicate whether the creation of NCTC is on track or not. The file regarding the appointment of Director of NCTC has been lying with the Home Minister for an unusually long time and has not yet been cleared. The Director has to be appointed for the NCTC to come into existence.
The UPA government seems desperate to somehow rehabilitate its leader from Gujarat Shankersinh Vaghela in some position. And it has apparently zeroed in on the post of chairman of India Tourism Development Corporation,a post that has so far been occupied by bureaucrats only. ITDC currently has a Chairman cum Managing Director and it is planned to split the two roles and make Vaghela the chairman. The problem,however,is that Vaghela,who served as Textiles Minister in UPA-I,wants the status of a minister,even in the rank of MoS. ITDC chairmans position is at best a Secretary-level post.