Ranchi, Sept. 14: A little-known Delhi-based NGO, which calls itself the Institute of Economic Studies, has discovered that Jharkhand tourism minister Joba Manjhi has made enough “contribution towards humanity and downtrodden” to deserve the Mahila Shiromani Puraskar instituted by it.
The minister was supposed to attend a seminar on “economic development through tourism” on September 6, where she was to be given the award.
But Manjhi could not attend and now the NGO’s executive director, Kulbir Singh, says: “Woh to aayi hi nahin. Ab agle saal dekhenge. (She did not come. Now we will see next year).”
Back in Ranchi, Manjhi’s office issued a statement, attaching the NGO’s letter, where it said: “This award is conferred every year on those who contribute to the uplift of the downtrodden. It is a matter of great pride for the people of Jharkhand that Joba Manjhi has been selected for this national award.”
“We hope that after being given this award, Joba Manjhi will work for the welfare of the people with renewed vigour. Before this no one from Jharkhand has won this award. Joba Manjhi has always been serious about the uplift of the downtrodden. The uplift of a large number of people of Singhbhum has been possible because of the minister’s efforts,” the release said.
As for the NGO’s credentials, Singh said: “We have been organising seminars and conferences for a long time. We have conferred this award on Mother Teresa and the late Rabi Ray, who has been Lok Sabha Speaker. We are like a chamber of commerce and also prepare status reports on projects.”
Sources in the tourism department said some Delhi-based firms had been approaching them for contracts.
Asked what made the institute believe that Manjhi had rendered great service to “humanity and downtrodden”, the executive director said: “She is an MLA and a minister. Isn’t that enough to prove her contribution' She must have been elected to the Assembly because she works for humanity and downtrodden. We have been in this field for around 10 years.”
Asked who had recommended Manjhi’s name, he said, “I am not very sure but someone told us she was doing a great job.”