The uncongenial attitude of officials in-charge of media outreach in the ministry of housing and urban affairs has put minister Hardeep Puri in a piquant position. His and his ministry's coverage in several newspapers has dipped even while he personally tries to maintain a congenial open-door policy with the media. Senior officials of the ministry are left to wonder why some media outlets have stopped not only critical reportage but also reportage that would reflect the urban affairs ministry in positive light.
The tiff began in May this year when some reporters complained that officers in charge of media outreach do not respond to routine queries or even take calls. While the officials have changed, many beat reporters find themselves “not invited” to even regular interactions, the latest being the informal lunch gathering that the otherwise affable minister plans to host.
Rahul Ram’s MP connection
The music band India Ocean was in Bhopal recently to perform at a voter-education event. Vocalist Rahul Ram spoke about his “connection with Madhya Pradesh”. He spoke of the time he spent in MP jails, thanks to his involvement with the Narmada Bachao Andolan in the nineties. He also remembered an incident that occurred during the shooting of Bollywood movie “Peepli Live”. The film crew was packing up after a day's shooting when it heard local villagers sing a folk song that went “Sakhi saiyan to khub hi kamat hai...” Ram and his team immediately decided to use the song in the movie, although it had no connection with the storyline.