Radhakrishnan Kuttoor

Joseph M. Puthussery, K. Sivadasan Nair seek clarification

Say leaders of two ruling parties have criticised Collector

’Action will affect smooth conduct of pilgrimage’

PATHANAMTHITTA: The shifting of District Collector T.T. Antony at a crucial time when the annual Sabarimala pilgrimage is under way has evoked protests from various socio-political quarters here.

Kerala Congress(M) State general secretary Joseph M. Puthussery, MLA, and Pathanamthitta MLA K. Sivadasan Nair alleged that the government decision to shift the Collector who is also the district co-ordinator for Sabarimala affairs was the “latest example of the intolerance of certain ruling quarters towards those bureaucrats who have failed to concede to the pressures of the party leaders.”

The MLAs alleged that the shifting of the Collector would impede the ongoing efforts to settle the Chengara land struggle, besides badly affecting the district-level coordination for the smooth conduct of the Sabarimala pilgrim season.

River treatment issue

Pampa Parirakshana Samiti general secretary N.K. Sukumaran Nair alleged that the order issued by the Collector under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code banning chemical treatment of the Njunangar stream leading to the Pampa was the latest issue that had irritated certain political quarters. This is besides the effective steps initiated by the district administration against illegal sand mining, hill demolition and paddy field conversion, Mr. Nair said.

The MLAs also alleged that the Collector had to face strong criticism from two major ruling parties for banning the chemical treatment of the stream.

Chengara stalemate

Mr. Antony had taken steps to clear a large extent of revenue land under illegal occupation in different parts of the district as part of a drive to identify land for distribution among the landless people who had been waging an agitation for land at Chengara since the past two years. He had taken over an extent of 27 acres of revenue ‘poromboke’ land under illegal occupation by a private party in Kalanjoor village, Mr. Puthussery said.

Both the MLAs sought clarification from Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran on the “undue haste shown in the shifting of the Pathanamthitta Collector, disregarding its negative implications on the Sabarimala pilgrimage as well as the ongoing drive to recover a large extent of revenue poromboke from illegal occupation.”