|Former CMs have little time for Parliament
PRS Legislative Research, a Delhi-based group that prepares reports on MPs’ performance, has now presented the attendance record of three former Jharkhand chief ministers in Parliament, of which they are now members. PRS shows MPs Shibu Soren, Madhu Koda and Babulal Marandi as too busy to attend the Lok Sabha, their respective attendance being 19, 31 and 30 per cent of the proceedings. Marandi has taken part in some discussions but Soren has not participated in even one, nor has he raised any question. Koda is lodged in jail in Ranchi on charges of money laundering and owning assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. His attendance is low despite the fact that he has been taking the court’s permission and travelling to Delhi for every Lok Sabha session since 2010.
Tata show minus ministers
The 173rd birth anniversary of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, founder of the Tata Group of Industries, was marked by grand celebrations and also by the absence of any minister. The event, on March 3, included the inauguration of a musical fountain inside the Jubilee Park in Jamshedpur. Those who attended it included Tata Group chairman-designate Cyrus Pallonji Mistry and current chairman Ratan Tata. The company did not invite Chief Minister Arjun Munda or any of his ministers. A day earlier, however, when Mistry and Tata met him at his residence in Ranchi, Munda had rolled out the red carpet for them.
Dhoni has smooth sailing
Whenever the India cricket captain is in his hometown, he takes time out to visit the temple of Goddess Durga at Deori village along the Ranchi-Jamshedpur highway. This time, M S Dhoni’s visit to this temple coincided with a call for a road blockade by people protesting the death of a woman in an accident. Two police teams led by deputy SP Naushad Alam were set up and they ensured that the blockade was not put up, allowing Dhoni a smooth ride. In the presence of policemen, Dhoni and his wife Sakshi performed puja and returned home before he flew to Mumbai to join his team, gearing up for the Asia Cup.
Mi-17s get the nod
Two Mi-17 choppers are set to fly in Jharkhand soon. Though it was almost two months ago that the Centre had provided these helicopters, hitherto used by the Indian Army, to help security forces carry out anti-Naxal operations, they could not be used so far because the Airports Authority of India had refused to give clearance to fly them. After a Dhruv helicopter of the BSF crashed near the Ranchi-Khunti border last October, the CRPF, which was using the BSF’s Dhruv choppers in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, had grounded them. Now, the AAI has cleared flying Mi-17s.
Another MLA in jail
Yet another one of Jharkhand’s MLAs has been sent to jail, with a special CBI court having remanded Satyendra Nath Tiwary in judicial custody till March 21. Tiwary, a leader of the Jharkhand Vikas Party and who represents Garhwa in the Assembly, is one of 30 accused in the Rs-90-crore bitumen scam that surfaced in the road construction department in 2008. Tiwary, owner of Kalawati Construction Company, is alleged to have withdrawn Rs 1.24 crore with bogus receipts and invoices showing procurement of bitumen for construction of a 30km road in Daltongunj in 2004. Congress MLA Sawana Lakra is in jail on charges of murder, while Independent MLAs Enos Ekka and Hari Narain Rai are in jail on charges of fraud, criminal conspiracy and owning assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.