State Minister Tarana yet to join new office after transfer from telecom to information

The information ministry has readied State Minister Tarana Halim’s office, but she has not joined her new workplace after the cabinet shake-up.

Published : 4 Jan 2018, 04:07 PM
Updated : 4 Jan 2018, 10:04 PM

With wild speculations swirling about her leave of absence, she did not take phone calls until Thursday, the last work day of the week.

Earlier, the media reported that she was upset about her being shunted aside from the posts and telecommunications to the information ministry.

Kazi Keramat Ali MP, the newly appointed state minister for vocational and madrasa education, is also yet to join his new office for ‘personal reasons’.

Jatiya Party leader Anisul Islam Mahmud and Anwar Hossain Manju have not joined their new offices, either, after their portfolios, water resources, and environment and forests, respectively, were interchanged in the process of shuffling this week.

Jatiya Party (JP) leader Manju, however, attended the inauguration of a project of his new ministry at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday.

Tarana Halim. File Photo

Tarana lost posts and telecoms when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reshuffled her cabinet after four were sworn in on Tuesday with a year left of the current government.

When actress-cultural activist Tarana was made state minister for posts and telecoms two and a half years ago, the ministry had not have a minister.

Now she will be playing second fiddle to Hasanul Haq Inu, who runs the show as minister.

“I won't say why there is no state minister for telecoms now,” Musatafa Jabbar, the newly appointed posts, telecommunications and IT minister, told the media on Wednesday.

“It is beyond me that the telecom division has had serious problems and there had been no initiatives to resolve them,” he said.

The posts and telecoms ministry’s dispute with the regulators BTRC came out in the public when Tarana was in charge.

New Minister Jabbar said he will be supportive to the BTRC, rather than trying to control it.   

Tarana sat at her Secretariat office for the last time on Dec 27.

She was scheduled to speak at a news briefing on Wednesday about the achievements of the Posts and Telecommunications Division in past two years.  

But she postponed it on Tuesday evening citing ‘unavoidable reasons’ after the speculations surrounding the cabinet shuffle ran rife.

On Thursday, officials at the Posts and Telecommunications Division said they could not bid official farewell to Tarana as she was nowhere to be seen.

Information ministry officials ready the office for State Minister Tarana Halim

A senior official, requesting anonymity, told that Tarana on Dec 31 filed an application seeking a nine-day leave and it was forwarded to the prime minister on Wednesday.

She did not take calls when tried to contact her for comments on the leave.

The information ministry staffers were found preparing a room for Tarana on Thursday.

Environment and forests ministry spokesperson Mostafa Kamal Pasha told minister Anisul Islam Mahmud did not come on Thursday.

Kazi Keramat did not join office, said education ministry Public Relations Officer Afrazur Rahman, as he was in Gopalganj.

Another official at the ministry said the state minister has not told them whether he would sit at the Secretariat or at a nearby building where the vocational and madrasa education board officials work.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher