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21 Jan 2017

Tussle glare on name omission

Ghosh and Deb
TT, Siliguri, Jan. 20: A perceived tussle between ministers Gautam Deb and Rabindranath Ghosh came into focus once again today as the tourism department headed by the former didn't find a mention in the programme schedule of Uttarbanga Utsav to be inaugurated by Mamata Banerjee on January 22.
The week-long festival is organised by the north Bengal development department helmed by Ghosh. In the programme schedule, the north Bengal development department, along with seven other departments, were mentioned.
Jagadish Roy, the nodal officer of Uttarbanga Utsav, who addressed a news conference here today to elaborate on the fest, was red-faced when asked why the tourism department's name was not there in the schedule.
"It is an unintentional error. We will surely rectify it and publish a new programme schedule that would carry the tourism department's name, along with other government departments. We will ensure that the tourism department's name is also mentioned in the advertisements and other publicity materials of the event," Roy said.
Although the official insisted that it was an "unintentional," administrative sources and Trinamul insiders said it might have happened as Deb and Ghosh had differences on several issues. There were reports that Ghosh's department was reluctant to allot funds for the coming Bengal Travel Mart hosted by the tourism department. The funds crunch has forced tour operators to drop plans to invite foreign buyers to the mart.
"We are aware that the ministers don't see eye-to-eye. That is why, we suspect, the tourism department's name has been left out," said an administrative source.
Asked about the matter, Deb said: "In a government, it is always necessary to take a collective approach and work in an integrated manner. It does not matter whether the name is mentioned or not. All I can say is that my department has allotted funds for the festival and I am looking into the programmes to be held in Siliguri."
Roy, when contacted later this evening, said the entire funds of Rs 1 crore would be spent by the north Bengal development department.
However, a tourism department official said the organisers had asked for Rs 10 lakh and Deb's department had given Rs 5 lakh.
Ghosh said he had no idea of the controversy.
"I will reach Siliguri tomorrow and visit Uttarkanya. I would then try to know what exactly has happened. As of now, I have no idea" he said.

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