Special Correspondent

Suresh Kumar is special officer for the eviction drive

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Government on Thursday issued orders posting Raju Narayanaswamy as the new Collector of Idukki.

Orders have also been issued posting Additional Secretary in Chief Minister's Office K. Suresh Kumar as the Special Officer for overseeing the eviction of encroachers in and around Munnar and Inspector-General of Police Rishiraj Singh to head the team of policemen to assist the operations.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan gave directions for issue of orders posting the officials despite some opposition to his choice of officers in the Left Democratic Front. He also met the officers personally and gave them directions.

Though revenue officials had been carrying out some evictions in the past three days, it was directed against poor settlers and two mobile companies. This had given rise to some protests. The public had also been inconvenienced by the disruption of mobile services. There were allegations that this was done to create public opposition to Government action.

Probe sought

Meanwhile, president of the Idukki District Congress Committee (DCC) P.T. Thomas on Thursday alleged that State Secretary of the CPI(M) Pinarayi Vijayan was trying to shield those who have grabbed land illegally in Munnar.

Addressing a press conference here Mr. Thomas demanded an enquiry into the allegations that the kickbacks received in the SNC Lavalin deal had been deployed in the widespread land grabbing that had been going in Munnar area.

Mr. Thomas also demanded that Munnar should be declared as an `ecologically sensitive zone'.

BJP's charge

Staff Reporter writes from Kochi: Bharatiya Janata Party State president P.K. Krishnadas has alleged that only small encroachments are being cleared in Munnar and the larger ones are not being touched.

He told presspersons here on Thursday that Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan was being pressured from within the CPI(M) to change the decision on appointing new officials to clear the encroachments. He threatened to launch an agitation if the officials were removed.