Kolkata, Nov 15 (IANS) A helicopter has become the latest bone of contention between the Raj Bhavan and the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government, with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday alleging that he had to travel 300 km by road as the state administration gave “no response” to his request for a helicopter.
Dhankhar was scheduled to attend the silver jubilee celebration of S.N.H. College at Farakka in Murshidabad district at 12.20 p.m. on Friday.
“Looking at the distance of 300 km, a request was made to the state government that they may provide a helicopter. The state government unfortunately gave a reply which was non-specific and a routine one. We therefore again, through the Raj Bhavan, invited their attention to this matter. There has been no response. A communication was sent to the honourable Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee),” said Dhankhar.
The Governor was then informed by his Secretary that the Chief Secretary would respond within a couple of days. “That is also over. There has been no response so far.”
To keep his commitment, Dhankhar and his wife started at 5 a.m. for the venue.
Taking a swipe at the state administration, Dhankhar said a communication from the Governor should receive priority, “inasmuch as if I get a communication from the honourable Chief Minister, I don’t delay the response more than 24 hours.
“Any communication from the honourable Chief Minister is the highest communication I can receive, and I deal with it within 24 hours. How I deal with it, in what way I deal with it, is my discretion. But I deal with it and notify, that there has been a communication and I have dealt with it.”
Earlier, a Raj Bhavan press release had also highlighted the issue, saying “about 600 kms of journey on the same day is being undertaken by Governor Shri Dhankhar as the request for a helicopter made to the State Govt well in time has not found so far favourable consideration”.
A state minister, however, described Dhankhar’s demand as “absurd” and said he first should clarify why he needs a chopper as “one cannot tolerate misuse of public money”.
Earlier this week, the Governor had sought a chopper to travel to Santipur in Nadia district, but then too the state government turned down the request, citing relief work in the aftermath of severe Cyclone Bulbul.
On Thursday, the Chief Minister without mentioning his name, made a veiled attack on Dhankhar, calling him a “nominated” person and accusing him of behaving like a “BJP mouthpiece” and trying to run a “parallel administration”.
Dhankhar, however, on Friday refused to join issue directly with Banerjee, but said “some people are using their tongue too often and very loosely. Every ball is not played in the game of cricket. Some balls are best left, while some no balls can be hit as they deserve, I would continue to serve the people of the state”.