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Chant ‘on the move’ and show ’em how

Calcutta, May 21: If Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s mantra was “do it now”, Mamata Banerjee’s is “on the move”.

That’s the sermon the new chief minister today gave her ministers, telling them they must not only work hard but also be seen doing so. In short, they must bustle about a lot.

If the ministers were wondering how it could be done, Mamata herself appeared to show the way this evening.

On her way back home from Writers’ Buildings, she had herself driven across large swathes of central, east and south Calcutta, sometimes in circles, stopping only at traffic signals.

Her route: Writers’ to Park Street crossing via Red Road and Outram Road; down Jawaharlal Nehru Road till Birla Planetarium, then to Victoria Memorial; back to Park Street via Red Road and Mayo Road; on to E.M. Bypass via Park Circus Connector; to Chingrighata and Kadapara and back to Park Circus Connector via Science City; on to A.J.C. Bose Road Flyover before turning left from S.S.K.M. Medical College Hospital and back home to Kalighat via Gopalnagar.

And sure enough, after Mamata’s afternoon homily, her junior minister in charge of sports, Madan Mitra, was seen busily inspecting the Salt Lake Stadium in the evening.

Earlier, Mamata had breezed into her Writers’ chamber at 11.55am, less than 12 hours after she had left last night. She first met top officials from the various departments and then her ministers, and even found time for a quick inspection of the Writers’ canteen.

She handed over a cheque for Rs 1 crore, raised from her own painting sales, to the chief secretary for the chief minister’s relief fund.

Mamata told her ministers to come to office on time, ensure staff attendance and try and restore work culture.

“I won’t blame the employees. If someone knows how to work, they can get the best out of those they work with,” she told reporters.

The ministers have been told to identify areas that need immediate attention. Mamata herself has set the priorities for some departments.

She has asked labour minister Purnendu Bose to hand in a report on the unorganised labour sector’s condition as well as the steps taken and pending. “There are a lot of things that haven’t been implemented,” Bose said.

A senior Writers’ official said: “The chief minister wanted to know about the ongoing projects, about how much funds were provided, whether there was any problem with implementation. She has asked for files related to all the departments. These have been placed before her.”

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