Quarry owners want Kozhikode Collector shunted out

Kozhikode Collector N. Prasanth. Photo: K. Rajesh   | Photo Credit: K_RAGESH;K_RAGESH -

A powerful pressure group involved in quarrying and sand mining in the district is intensely lobbying to remove district Collector N. Prasanth from the post.

Popularly referred to in social media circles as Collector Bro, Mr. Prasanth has been waging a relentless war against illegal quarrying and sand mining ever since he assumed charge in February. Now the immediate provocation of the quarry lobby was a stop-memo served on a dozen owners at Mukkom a week ago.

A few quarry owners with political backing had met a Congress minister seeking Mr. Prasanth’s ouster and the latter had reportedly assured them that the Collector would be shifted during the next shuffling of IAS officers in February.

However, a senior government functionary told The Hindu that any decision to transfer the Collector had to be taken by the State Cabinet. Sources said that the State government would not remove an admired Collector like Mr. Prasanth, also a rank holder at the all-India civil services examinations, especially when Assembly elections are due in April.

He had individually taken up multiple issues affecting the district and had been lauded for several initiatives such as Compassionate Kozhikode and Operation Sulaimani, the sources said.

The Kozhikode Collector’s Facebook page has over 1.5 lakh followers, the highest for a Collector in the country, and his social media interaction has greatly improved transparency and governance.

Previously Mr. Prasanth served as Sub Collector in the district in 2009 and during those days he had stringently acted against the quarry and sand mafia. Later he was appointed Private Secretary to Minister of Home and Vigilance Ramesh Chennithala. The grapevine is that his closeness to Mr. Chennithala would not lead to his exit unceremoniously.

However Mr. Prasanth, who is away in Thiruvananthapuram to participate in a meeting called by the Chief Electoral Officer in connection with the Assembly polls, refused to comment on the issue. An IAS officer, as a rule gets a three-year team as Collector in a district or districts depending on the decisions of the government. Incidentally, Kozhikode has a direct IAS officer after a long time with the appointment of Mr. Prasanth.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 6:29:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/quarry-owners-want-kozhikode-collector-shunted-out/article8048122.ece

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