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Public praise, private rebuke

Ranchi, Dec. 25: Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh may have lauded Congress ministers serving in the Hemant Soren-led coalition government in front of the media today, but insiders said that all five were chided for slow pace of work behind closed doors.

“All five are doing a commendable job,” Ramesh said after the meeting at a Ranchi hotel, where he reviewed the performance of the departments headed by his partymen.

Without taking the name of Rajendra Prasad Singh, who holds the portfolios of finance, energy and health, Ramesh said: “I have been told that 6,500 defunct electric transformers have been replaced. Solar lamps have been installed in areas where power connections do not exist. I am satisfied.”

But sources, who were present at the meeting, had a different story to tell.

“The party cannot afford your (read all ministers, including Singh) casual approach at a time when Lok Sabha elections are knocking on the doors,” Ramesh was quoted as saying at the meeting.

Animal husbandry minister Mannan Mallick was rebuked when the Union minister enquired whether his department had any plan to improve livestock in the state and the former replied in negative.

HRD department minister Geetashree Oraon was asked to give the roadmap to fill up vacant teacher posts and offer financial aid to madarsas.

Oraon failed to come up with a convincing reply.

Ramesh further asked her whether students would get uniform and books on time. Oraon replied that the manuscripts were not yet printed.

Ramesh looked visibly unhappy, sources claimed.

When agriculture minister Yogendra Sao raised issues pertaining to his constituency, Ramesh interrupted him and asked him to concentrate on his ministerial job.

Sources said Sao had a series of complaints like CCL not fulfilling its duty under corporate social responsibility and alleged land grabbing by NTPC in Hazaribagh. But Ramesh was not interested.

He instead told Sao, “Come up with a plan to develop horticulture here and I will arrange your meeting with the Union agriculture minister.”

Rural development minister Chandrasekhar Dubey was also taken to task for delay in delegating rights to elected panchayat representatives, a flagship programme of Congress and Rahul Gandhi.

Dubey told Ramesh that a draft proposal had been finalised and booklets published. “The same would be tabled in the next Cabinet meeting for approval,” he said.

Ramesh is understood to have told Dubey that a delayed approval would be of no use for people and the party.

Dubey, however, during his interaction with the media claimed: “The Union minister mostly discussed organisational issues. He is satisfied with my performance.”