Ram Naik and his band of آ‘Merry Menآ’

Vol 4, PW 1 (16 Feb 00) People & Policy

Petroleum minister Ram Naik has set up a camp office in his parliamentary constituency of North Mumbai.

The office is on railway property near his home in the vicinity of Gorgaon railway station. It is the same office that Naik once used as a junior railway minister.

Only this time it has six officials from Indias state-owned oil companies on permanent stand-by to help him whenever he needs assistance. This is the first time any petroleum minister has had a camp office of this type in his constituency, an oil company official tells Petrowatch.

There are two officials each from Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum. Not all six are on duty at the same time.

But sources reveal that at any given time you will always find three of them hanging about in the office. Officially the function of Naiks band of merry men is to supply him with information and to liase with their respective companies.

It is learnt the six officials spend their time cutting newspaper articles about their companies and handing them over to Naik for his comments. They also sort out his mail and the numerous petitions that he receives from lobby groups and others.

This is their official role, adds a source. An unofficial role is to cater for any untoward or out-of-turn expenses that might crop up when Naik is in Mumbai.

It is believed each of the oil company representatives has a modest budget should it be required. Naik is clearly a conscientious MP.

He is a regular visitor to Mumbai and makes it a point to return to his constituency every weekend, except when parliament is in session.