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Minister Ramesh takes dig at ‘Mahi’s friend’

Ranchi, Jan. 27: Union minister Jairam Ramesh, who met the media here yesterday after his Saranda trip, hinted at the dubious dealings of the state’s politicians, including a “young man who claims to be a great friend of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni”, but reposed full faith in the governor’s advisers under President’s Rule.

“Political instability in Jharkhand is greatly responsible for its pitiable condition. But, as advisers K. Vijay Kumar and Madhukar Gupta have vast experience in handling problems Jharkhand is currently facing, positive changes may be expected soon,” he said.

He added he had known them both personally for several decades.

Citing the nexus between Maoism, poverty and corruption, he said: “Ultra-left gun lords can be given befitting a reply only through positive growth. But here, unfortunately, ministers were mainly interested in awarding contracts to their own men and least bothered about the state’s welfare.”

Triggering sensation, he added: “Things started changing only after I warned then chief minister Arjun Munda that the Centre would stop providing funds if he did not tighten his minister.”

On repeatedly being asked to name names, he said: “One such politician is a young man who claims to be a great friend of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni,” pointing a finger at Ajsu boss and Munda’s deputy Sudesh Mahto.

When The Telegraph contacted Sudesh for his response, he said over phone: “Pata nahi wo kya bole hain. Jab humne suna nahi hai, toh iss par mein kya react karun.”

Ramesh also spoke on his pet topic Saranda and added it was his great honour to hoist the Tricolour in the former Naxalite hotbed on R-Day.

“The success of new initiatives in Saranda in itself has proved that positive changes are bound take place in Jharkhand provided honest efforts are made,” he said.

Getting personal, Ramesh said January 26 also happened to be his wedding anniversary.

Yesterday, the Union rural development ministry and the state also inked a tripartite agreement with project management consultant URS Scott Wilson India Limited in Ramesh’s presence to ensure smooth execution of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and World Bank-aided schemes.

For the next three years in Jharkhand, this project management consultant would be an extended hand of Jharkhand State Rural Roads Development Authority (JSRRDA) and support quality execution of PMGSY constructions.

“The consultant will offer time-bound services to JSRRDA, project implementation units and central public sector undertakings associated with it. It will assist in all aspects of planning, project preparation, procurement, contract management, execution, social management framework, safeguards and rural road maintenance,” said a senior bureaucrat.