Collector accused of sidelining violation of 12 major laws at Aranmula

The Communist Party of India (CPI) has cautioned the District Collector and other Revenue officials against their alleged batting for a private company that has been trying to implement a controversial airport project at Aranmula with the backing of the Government.

In a issued in Pathanamthitta on Sunday, the CPI district secretary, P. Prasad, has alleged that the Pathanamthitta district administration was making illegal and unlawful moves favouring the Chennai-based private company that has been trying to implement an international airport project at Aranmula, in gross violation of 12 key laws and regulations of the land.

Mr. Prasad said the district administration had carried out a detailed and foolproof investigation to identify 232 acres of excess land in the possession of the private company in and around Aranmula. The administration had also initiated effective steps tor take over the excess land in Aranmula, braving pressures from the ruling political higher-ups as well as the land lobby, he said.

The CPI leader alleged that the Revenue Minister, backed by certain people’s representatives belonging to Congress party and the land lobby, had shifted the then District Collector, V. N. Jitendran, and Deputy Collector for their bold and pro-people stand to safeguard the laws of the land.

There were allegations that the Government had appointed a Collector and other Revenue officials who could be ‘utilised’ for implementing the agenda of the airport company and the very functioning of the district administration in support of the land mafia amply justified this public apprehension, Mr. Prasad alleged.

The CPI leader alleged that the district administration was flouting all the laws of the land in favour of the land lobby. He has called for a detailed probe into the alleged anti-people actions taken by various key officials as well as the hospitality they received from the land lobby.

It was a shame on the literate State of Kerala that the District Collector himself has called a meeting for the private airport project that has been facing the charge of violating not less 12 important laws, he alleged.

The CPI leader alleged that the Collector’s actions tantamount to whitewashing the violation of laws by the private company as well as contempt of Court at a time when several cases, including the one filed by the CPI, in this connection pending before the Kerala High Court.

SC direction

Mr. Prasad said the district administration should better recall the Supreme Court direction aimed at insulating the bureaucracy from political interference.

Disposing a public interest writ petition on October 31, the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices K.S.RadhakrishnanPinaki Chandra Ghose had stated “e-notice, at present the civil servants are not having

stability of tenure, particularly in the State governments where transfers and postings are made frequently, at the whims and fancies of the executive head for political and other considerations and not in public interest. The necessity of minimum tenure has been endorsed and implemented by the Union Government. In fact, we notice, almost 13 States have accepted the necessity of a minimum tenure for civil servants. Fixed minimum tenure would not only enable the civil servants to achieve their professional targets, but also help them to function as effective instruments of public policy.”

“In the present political scenario, the role of civil servants has become complex and onerous. Often, they have to take decisions with far reaching consequences in the economic and technological fields. Their decisions must be transparent and in public interest. They should be fully accountable to the community they serve,” the bench said.

Mr. Prasad alleged that the recent shifting of as many as 43 staff from the Collectorate as well as various Revenue offices in and around Aranmula, apparently aimed at extending support to the land lobby and

the private company, was deplorable. He said the Apex Court’s directions were applicable to the district administration too.

The CPI leader said even certain Union Ministries, including the Finance Ministry, have opposed the private airport project in Aranmula that has failed to get even the mandatory clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

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