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Maharashta CM causes an hour long delay as IAS officer forgets visa

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New Delhi: Maharashtra Chief Minister- designate Devendra Fadnavis flashes victory sign during his meeting with Union Minister for Transport Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo by Subhav Shukla(PTI10_30_2014_000044B)
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By NewsGram Staff Writer

In yet another case of the special treatment meted out to the politicians, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday made passengers on board an Air India flight to Newark wait for almost an hour.

Praveen Pardeshi, principal secretary to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who flew to the US caused much confusion as he had only carried his new passport, while the US visa was stamped in his old one.

The seven-member delegation travelling with the CM reached the airport about 45 minutes before departure.

“It was only when he submitted his passport at the check-in counter for a boarding pass that Pardeshi realized that he did not have the US visa with him”, an airline source told TOI.

The secretary immediately called up his residence and arranged for his old passport to be brought to the airport.

As part of a VIP entourage, Pardeshi was issued a boarding pass. Whereas had he been a commoner, the airline would not have issued a boarding pass till the time the passport with the valid US visa was not submitted at the airline counter.

A protocol officer is always assigned to receive the chief minister at the airport, ensure he has a VIP room, takes care of his check-in, luggage, immigration and sees him off till the aircraft.

The protocol officer took the boarding passes of all members, including Pardeshi for requisite clearances from the CISF and immigration authorities.

Again, the fact that Pardeshi was travelling with a VIP helped as he was allowed to walk through Indian immigration, despite not having a valid visa for travel to the US.

The airline had begun boarding at 12.15 am and in an hour all the 250-odd passengers, except Pardeshi, were seated onboard the flight.

The boarding officer and special handling officer informed the CM about the situation but the CM insisted that he would travel only with his delegation.

“We decided to wait for Pardeshi for some time so that the need to offload baggage by opening the cargo section of the Boeing 777 could be avoided”, said the airline source.

Meanwhile minister of state for civil aviation, Mahesh Sharma refused to admit to the delay caused by the Devendra Fadnavis.

“I have spoken to the Maharashtra chief minister and officials concerned in Air India. Our findings are that the flight was not delayed for the principal secretary to CM. ATC and other technical issues during the operations caused delay,” Sharma told TOI.

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Captain strikes at VIP culture in Punjab, shuns red beacon from government officials’ vehicles

Captain Amarinder Singh took a strike at the prevalent VIP culture, barring the ministers of the state, bureaucrats and himself from using the Red beacon on top of the vehicles provided

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Chandigarh, March 18, 2017: In the first cabinet meeting of the new form government led by Captain Amarinder Singh, he took a strike at the prevalent VIP culture, barring the ministers of the state, bureaucrats and himself from using the Red beacon on top of the vehicles provided.

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“My cabinet has decided to rid the state of VIP culture. All beacon lights to be removed from vehicles of Ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats,” said Amarinder Singh.

Moving one step forward, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal announced that none of the ministers and MLAs will lay any foundation stone or do innaugrations.

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“Even for big projects of Rs 100 crore or Rs 200 crore, the names of the Chief Minister and ministers will not be displayed (on the foundation or inauguration stones). It will carry only one line saying that the project has been executed with the money of the taxpayers,” Badal said while talking to the media.

The shift in power of Punjab has led many unsurprising changes. This recent decision came a day after when Punjab government reshuffled top bureaucrats from their current posting with immediate effect.

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While it’s too early to judge the outcome of the mandate given by the cabinet headed by Captain Amarinder, but it isn’t hard to presume the certainty of this verdict over the rampant VIP culture in the state of Punjab.

For now, it’s welcome and applaudable step at the part of the state government. Meanwhile, it would be interesting to watch whether other states pursuit this initiative taken by the incumbent government of Punjab.

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This the second time when Captain Amarinder Singh has returned to power. Prior to this, he served as the Chief Minister of Punjab from 2002 to 2007.

-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard