Reporter’s Diary: Rly PR team goes full steam against MPs’ charges on funds

Gone are the days when public relation officers were content with merely trumpeting the achievements of the government. Now, they seem to be signing up for political assignments too.
Reporter’s Diary: Rly PR team goes full steam against MPs’ charges on funds
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Chennai

At least the PR wing of Southern Railway (SR) appears to be doing so. The PR managers went a wee bit overboard last week when they attempted to respond to charges of abysmally low budgetary allocation for railway schemes in the zone. Peeved by critique of MPs from the State, who alleged that the fund allotted for the schemes in the zone was abysmal, the chief public relation office of SR issued a loaded statement that drew a parallel between the budgetary allocation for this year and the five-year tenure of the United Progressive Alliance-II, which put the present allocation way above the previous regime. The officials even took pains to design eye-catchy illustration to demonstrate the sharp rise in budgetary allocation between 2009-14 and 2020-21. It was widely discussed in official circles, and some of the top-level officials were left surprised by their subordinates’ efforts to silence critics. Some officials privately admitted that their colleagues should have restricted it to highlighting the enhanced budgetary allocation this year. A few of them opined that even if the zonal publicity managers wanted to do a comparison, they should have done it year-on-year basis, noting that comparing the tenure of an earlier government with the figures from the present year was outmoded even as a political rhetoric.
—K Karthikeyan, Chennai

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