The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Taking ‘care’, flashing red beacon

Ranchi, April 16: From now onwards, chief minister Madhu Koda will not have to make frequent trips to New Delhi, declared Vijender Goel in Delhi today, after “assuming charge” as the state’s special representative at the Jharkhand Bhavan.

“I will take care of all the issues, which are pending with the Union government,” he added.

Goel said that it was wrong to say that the special representative had no business in New Delhi. “In fact, I have been told that a large number of proposals are pending in various departments of the Union government. For instance, the state government’s request for a bigger plot for Jharkhand Bhavan has been pending for quite some time. I will get it cleared soon,” he announced.

Goel, who owned a security agency in Delhi and is from Haryana, is clearly enjoying his new assignment, according to sources in the Jharkhand Bhavan.

He held a meeting today with some 50 persons, mostly from his village in Haryana, and boasted before them that he had become a “big man” in Jharkhand.

Irked Jharkhand Bhavan staff complained that Goel had arrived in a vehicle flashing a red beacon light on top. This was in violation of the Delhi traffic rules that allow only the governor and the chief minister from Jharkhand to use the red beacons when in Delhi, they pointed out. Goel has been conferred the status of a minister of state by the Jharkhand government and is not entitled to use a red beacon.

Goel, however, told The Telegraph over phone that people who had called on him at the Jharkhand Bhavan today were his relatives and friends. They had come to bless him in his new role, he explained. But Jharkhand Bhavan staff made no secret of their dislike for the hefty Haryanvi throwing his weight around, saying that the state government already had the resident commissioner, an IAS officer who is the official representative of the government.

Goel’s predecessor, R.N. Tiwary, also a resident of Delhi and appointed because of his proximity to BJP leader L.K. Advani, admitted today that the political post is largely redundant. “Not a single job was referred to me as the special representative. No state in the country has created such a post. Andhra Pradesh had created one such post but abolished it soon,” he pointed out.

Under the state government orders, the special representative with the status of a minister of state is entitled to have a private secretary, steno, peon and a chauffeur-driven vehicle. Besides, a big house in the posh Chanakayapuri has been allotted to him.

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