Planting an idea
The women’s wing of the Delhi unit of the Congress party, the Delhi Pradesh Mahila Congress, has hit upon a novel idea to protest the proposed large-scale felling of trees in the national capital. Its chief, Sharmistha Mukherjee, has started distributing saplings to Delhi’s residents with an appeal that they should do “everything within their influence to protect the trees that are facing imminent danger of axing”. The Congress, which is struggling to make a comeback in Delhi, has blamed the “collusion” of Bharatiya Janata Party-led union government and the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government for the decision to cut down 14,000 trees for redevelopment of colonies.
R K Singh, minister of state for power and new & renewable energy, is a man of his word... and signature, it appears. At the biannual state power ministers' conference in Shimla, Singh urged states to meet their targets, as part of the overall power reforms, by 2019. “Needless to say, the deadline is inching closer and we all have to work together to meet it. The target can't be missed as you are the ones who have set it. You have decided on the target and signed on it too. And I have all your signatures,” he said threateningly. Acknowledging that there was an “acute coal shortage” in the country, Singh said he's given states a free hand to import coal. “I hope you all have received a letter with my signature on it saying that you can now import coal,” he added.
You would rarely find a politician who discusses his drinking habit in public. So it was interesting to see legislators in the Chhattisgarh Assembly openly airing their views on beer brands. During a discussion, minister Amar Agrawal was asked by state Congress president Bhupesh Baghel if the government was encouraging the sale of two particular beer brands at the cost of others. As Agrawal began his reply, one of the MLAs quipped that one of those two brands wasn’t really good because the taste seemed to change from time to time. The minister shot back by naming another member who never seemed to complain about the taste of the said brand. This MLA, also present in the house, clarified that since he was from Bastar, he preferred to get his stock from Telangana, which shares its border with southern Chhattisgarh, evoking much laughter from other members present.