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Kolkata: The State Secretariat here donned a new look on Saturday as the normal languid weekend mood gave way to a day of hectic activity with new Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee returning to her office within 12 hours of leaving it past midnight on Friday night. Her Cabinet colleagues and departmental secretaries followed in tow.
The ‘mela'-like atmosphere witnessed on Friday, when the Trinamool Congress chief assumed office, prevailed for some time on Saturday too as party supporters roamed around posing for pictures in the VIP corridor of the Writers' Building, one of the most high-security places in the State.
Refused to use convoy
She refused to come to office in a regular convoy saying this inconvenienced common people. “I will use my party car and I do not want to do anything that will alienate me from my people,” she had said on Friday as she almost had to jostle her way into the Secretariat through a sea of humanity.
On Saturday, Ms. Banerjee held rounds of meetings first with her ministers and then with her department secretaries. At her maiden press meet on Friday, held within an hour of the first Cabinet meeting, she had said that as against the past practice of having a Cabinet meeting once a month, now it would be a fortnightly affair. The next Cabinet meeting would be held on Wednesday.” Work has to be hastened up,” she said. “I have asked the ministers to come on Saturday,” she said. She also announced her intent of setting up a public grievance cell.
She lamented “lack of any work-related infrastructure”, requesting journalists to give her time to set up her own. Ms. Banerjee donated to Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh a cheque for Rs.1 crore from the proceeds of her painting towards the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.
Her team worked in right earnest on its first day at work, with ministers like Firhaad Hakim, in-charge of Urban Development and Municipal Affairs, announcing decisions on merging and expanding municipalities and development agencies. However, unlike on Friday and much to everybody's relief, the Chief Minister left the Secretariat early in the evening setting the weekend mood to sink in eventually.
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