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Patna Diary

Lift poser post 8pm at New Secretariat

Senior officers and employees at the New Secretariat are complaining about a lift problem. The liftmen switch off the lift and leave at 8pm. But many officials remain in office beyond that time because of the pressure of work and are forced to use the stairs,” said an official. He said many employees aged more than 50 had orthopaedic problems and heart ailments. They find it difficult to use the stairs, he added. “Some officials want the liftmen to be given extra allowance so that they stay back after 8pm,” he said. “The secretariat has been renovated and has better lighting now,” said another official. “In the Lalu-Rabri era, it used to be pitch dark after sunset and one could have easily tumbled down the stairs. But, of course, no government employee remained at the New Secretariat after 5pm then.”

Salt in the ocean

BJP leaders are taking the decision of the JD(U) to contest alone in the Gujarat Assembly elections later this year with a pinch of salt. “In Gujarat, the BJP is an ocean,” said health minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey, suggesting that the Dal would not be able to make a dent there. Several BJP leaders recalled that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had campaigned for the JD(U) in the last Gujarat polls. But the party had not managed to win a single seat. “Outside Bihar, Nitish and Lalu are on the same footing. They may attract curious looks but not votes,” said a BJP MLA. Dal leaders are not pleased with the remarks of their NDA ally. “It’s funny that the Bihar BJP leaders have more confidence in their Gujarat unit (read: Narendra Modi) than on themselves. The very thought of Nitish leaving the alliance in Bihar sends shivers down their spine,” said a JD(U) MP.

Staff crunch

Work-related stress seems to be affecting district officials as well. A group of district-level officers recently met a principal secretary and pleaded that they needed more manpower to deal with the volume of work. The senior officer was not impressed, though. “The volume of the ork is what you are upposed to do. You ave obviously not been doing the work,” the fficer said, adding hat they should not expect him to “import” workers from other states.

Different flavours of tea

Road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav serves tea to every visitor at his official residence but regulars insist that the quality of the beverage varies according to the importance of the guest. “While most visitors get regular tea with milk and sugar, special guests are served organic tea, the aroma of which wafts through the house,” said a visitor. “The minister also never fails to enumerate the benefits of organic tea to the special guests.” Old timers recalled that all visitors to 1 Aney Marg, the official residence of the chief minister, were served tea as well during the Lalu-Rabri era. “But there was a CAG report on how a huge fund was being spent to serve tea at the chief minister’s residence,” said a former MLC.