The Telegraph
Thursday , January 23 , 2014
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Envoy from Germany makes a friend

German consul-general Rainer Schmiedchen has made a friend and chief minister Hemant Soren has increased his know-how manifold on how Germans are slashing their carbon footprint.

The German envoy based in Calcutta, who met Hemant for the first time on Wednesday at Project Building in Ranchi, was so delighted that he came out of the CM’s office beaming and professing to be “a friend of Jharkhand”.

The Telegraph reported on Wednesday that Schmiedchen had been trying to bag an appointment with Hemant since last November — and mysteriously failing to get his point across in both English and Hindi.

He and his wife Annette finally got to meet Jharkhand’s 38-year-old chief minister on Wednesday afternoon for a good 30 minutes and had a “nice interaction on wide-ranging subjects”.

“We had a long chat on wide-ranging topics. I discussed areas where Germany could lend Jharkhand a helping hand in the fields of science and technology, renewable and solar energy, among others. The chief minister was very friendly and very interested in the German energy turnaround. My country is stressing on power generation from renewable sources, trying to cut carbon emissions by as much as 80 per cent,” the consul-general said.

Earlier in the afternoon, Schmiedchen also met state chief secretary R.S. Sharma, definitely one of Jharkhand’s most erudite bureaucrats with double masters under his belt — in maths from IIT Kanpur and in computer science from the University of California, Riverside, no less — and seemed happy with that chat also.

In fact, the German consul general was with Sharma at the latter’s office in Project Building when he got word from the chief minister about a meeting then and there.

In the morning, he met state human rights commissioner Justice Narayan Roy at his office at Town Engineering Building at Dhurwa.

“I was very impressed with the human rights commissioner. He is very energetic and highly efficient which reflected in the speedy disposal of cases, especially those related to atrocities against women,” he said.

In the course of an exclusive chat with The Telegraph, Schmiedchen also showed his humane perception.

“As I travelled by car from Bodh Gaya to Ranchi on January 20, I noticed many people carrying hundreds of kilos of coal in jute bags on their bicycles. I understand the coal must be from illegal mining, but carrying the weight is Herculean. They work so hard for their daily bread,” he said.

He took photographs he said.“I wanted to offer them money, but both their hands were engaged in bearing the load and their clothes had no pockets,” he said, displaying a keen sense of observation.

What now? “I go back by the first flight tomorrow (Thursday) morning to Calcutta as a friend of Jharkhand,” said the envoy, in high spirits.

Last word? “A drive on Ranchi’s ring road reminded me of Berlin,” the German envoy said. Ranchi, now here’s a compliment.