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Below the Line

| Updated on December 09, 2019 Published on December 09, 2019

Restricted entry

Breezing through the corridors of ministries to meet any official without prior appointment is set to become difficult.

According to the buzz, when the new secretariat housing all ministries in a single building is constructed, the access of any visitor to any ministry will be restricted to the concerned official’s cabin only, and for which the visitor will have to take prior permission. In the case of journalists with Press Information Bureau card, that information will be pre-loaded on the card and the door to the concerned official’s cabin will open only on swiping the card for access. This will also help keep track of the visitors who meet any given official. The grapevine is that the security planning for the new secretariat has been handed over to The National Technical Research Organisation, an intelligence wing under the National Security Advisor, who reports to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Troubled ‘Bahubali’ tweeting

Irate buyers of flats sold by the Amarpali Group have been looking at multiple ways to remain in the limelight. After being disappointed by the outcome of the IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) proceedings against the group and the confusion regarding NBCC’s role in completing the projects, the home-buyers continue to seek restitution.

The buyers have started organising themselves under Whatsapp and Facebook groups to collectively tweet their concerns. One such tweeting exercise was conducted on Saturday. Most of the tweets demanded accountability from the government, and sought completion of the long-pending projects. The organisers of the Twitter handle called the exercise ‘Bahubali returns’, and said this was the second such exercise they are conducting.

Mystery or mischief?

The painting of Sanchar Bhawan, the building where the Ministry of Communications and Department of Telecommunications is housed, hasn’t been completed for a while now. But it was recently noticed that 786, in Arabic, had been painted atop the building. While expressing 786 in itself does not have any religious text to substantiate its relevance, it is widely believed that this number depicts the total numerological value of the Quranic expression “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim”. While it is unclear who wrote 786 on the DoT building, it is evident that there must be some design in mind while doing so.

Not open to criticism

A recent exchange between Bajaj Group chairman Rahul Bajaj and Home Minister Amit Shah at an award function hit the headlines when Bajaj pointed out to that India Inc is afraid of criticising the government’s policies as there is a feeling that such views will not be appreciated by the government. But that didn’t end just there.

Biocon’s Kiran Mazumdar Shaw chimed in with her view soon after. She tweeted, “Hope the government reaches out to India Inc for working out a solution to revive consumption and growth. So far... the government does not want to hear any criticism of our economy.” Shaw is among the few in India Inc who has been outspoken about her views on government policies. In recent times, she was among the first few to point out the issues of tax terrorism after CCD founder VG Siddhartha committed suicide.

Breathless

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar’s recent comment in Parliament that there was no Indian study that showed air pollution shortens life had Twitterati going berserk. Responding to a query last Friday, the minister advised everybody not to create fear psychosis among people.

While environmental activists lost no time in dismissing it as “no-brainer”, the remark became the butt of jokes in Twitterverse. And, one of them had a very valid question: If the government thinks air pollution is not a major health hazard, why did it spend so much money on buying air purifiers? As per records, between 2014 and 2017, the government bought 140 air purifiers for the PMO and other ministries.

Our Delhi Bureau

Published on December 09, 2019
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