Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Frequent flyers on Mamata’s behalf
Published: Monday, Aug 23, 2010, 23:00 IST

By DNA | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
In Mamata Banerjee we have the ultimate immovable object. Whether it’s her stance on Maoist leader Azad’s killing — where she became a major embarrassment for the Congress party –— or her unwillingness to step out of West Bengal to run the Indian Railways, she won’t budge.
This dogged stubbornness has been useful all these years, when the Left Front appeared to be equally unshakeable from power, but not now, when her inflexibility has been costing the government a lot of money. Replies to an RTI query show that it has cost the exchequer over Rs11 lakh to lug railway ministry papers back and forth between Delhi and Kolkata.

That’s chickenfeed for a ministry that spends in thousands of crores, but it’s not something to be sniffed at for a minister who wears her common woman status on her pallu.
It’s, of course, a tribute to her political longevity that while the Tharoors of the world get bashed up verbally for making casual comments on cattle class travel, Mamata has avoided ridicule despite giving her files a feudal ride. In the last 14 months that she has been railway minister, five government employees have been jetting it up and down from the Raj’s old capital carrying the memsahib’s files.
Someone should have told her that in this digital age, where files travel at the speed of light in electronic form, there’s no need for to-ing and fro-ing.

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