Railway ad shows Delhi in Pak

Railway ad shows Delhi in Pak

Some Central ministries appear to have developed a mysterious weakness for Pakistan.

A few weeks ago, the Union Women and Child Development Ministry used the photograph of a former Pakistan Air Force chief alongside pictures of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Now, it is the turn of the Railway Ministry to goof up: An advertisement commissioned by the ministry headed by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee locates Delhi in Pakistan, Kolkata in the Bay of Bengal and Gwalior in Gujarat.

Clearly, lethargic Rail Bhavan babus who okayed the advert, which appeared in all national and local dailies in West Bengal and most other states on Saturday, paid little attention to detail. The advert was issued to mark the inauguration of the Maharaja Express, a luxury train to cater to tourists’ wanderlust. It carried a map of some cities the heritage train is supposed to touch during the course of its journey from Kolkata to Delhi via Gaya, Varanasi, Bandhavgarh, Khajuraho, Gwalior and Agra.

But the map showed Delhi in Pakistan, Kolkata as far away as Malaysia or Indonesia, Khajuraho in Karnataka, and Gaya and Bandhavgarh on the Bay of Bengal.

Not noticed initially

According to sources, the goof-up was initially not noticed as Railway officials got busy with the inauguration work on Banerjee’s dream project which was to be flagged off by her Saturday night. So small was the map size and so faint its contours that it escaped the notice of bureaurcats.

When the blunder was finally noticed, it was too late. Several rounds of angry meetings followed with some bureaucrats running for cover.

The Railways got into damage-control exercise by Saturday afternoon. “It is a great mistake. We apologise for this. The advertising agency has been blacklisted and suspended,” Eastern Railway’s chief public relations officer Samir Goswami said.
“In the design approved by Eastern Railway, there was no such mistake. The ER had given correct details to the advertising agency,” Goswami pleaded.

When contacted, the ad agency concerned feigned innocence, saying that the route alignment had been given for the benefit of passengers. “The map and the alignment are an artist’s impression and not to scale. It is never our intention to create a controversy,” a spokesman for the firm said.

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