In his weekly column on November 18 (“Rating the raters”), T N Ninan narrates the story of a CEO who had to chase for five long years all the permissions needed to build his corporate office in New York on a piece of land which his company already owned in Manhattan. It took 51 years for a Gandhi statue to be put up on federal land opposite the Indian embassy in Washington. The process started in 1949 and it was only in September 2000 that Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Bill Clinton jointly unveiled the statue. The penultimate step in the long process was completed in 1988 when the US House of Representatives passed a Bill authorising the memorial. Like most American legislation, it then required the creation of a lobbying group — the Coalition for a National Memorial for India — for the US Senate to adopt the same Bill 10 years later. After all this and President Clinton signing the Bill, the unveiling ceremony was very nearly scuttled because the National Park Service found to be inadequate an undertaking given by the Indian embassy that they would protect a 117-year-old Weeping Beech tree next to the new statue.
K P Nayar New Delhi
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