Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure

At the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure, the Congress and the Trinamool Congress (who are allies at the Centre and in West Bengal) had a major face off.

During this disagreement, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee gave Mamata Banerjee such a dressing down that it is said that she was almost reduced to tears. Some sources say that the situation became so emotive that other ministers had to intervene, with one minister even offering a handkerchief to console the agitated, and normally irrepressible, Mamata.

It is learnt that Pranab Mukherjee lost his cool after Mamata suggested a public-private partnership for a railway project. He told her that the economies of scale of what she was suggesting were not feasible. He added that she wanted to be a popular and populist minister without increasing freight rates or passenger fares, and at the same time did not want to pay private parties. However, despite the drama, the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure finally cleared almost 23 projects, of which 10 are from West Bengal. These will be announced in the Railway Budget to be presented by Mamata Banerjee on February 24.

IMO: These PPPs are something a lot of people are sceptical about. Seems Didi wanted to put the general public first rather than money-grabbing "entrepreneurs" who have made so much money already at the expense of the poor. Does Mukherjee really want more Maoist insurgency which seems often to be caused by big business corruption already. Even here in relatively peaceful, pleasant and prosperous Goa, corruption is a word heard daily, with great disgust. e.g. It is obvious that the dengue epidemic in Verna is NOT due to the "dirty ghattis". Maharashtra is fairly clean for India but there is an enormous amount of obvious filth in Goa. The dengue epidemic (which doubtless "does not exist" and hopefully is pretty small anyway) is caused by totally inadequate sanitation facilities for out-of-state workers provided by bent commercial firms trying to make money at the expense of the poor and uneducated. Thank God for Didi !

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