Kerala IAS officer who took on land mafia transferred
Though the government claimed it was a promotion, many see his transfer as a consequence of his strong posture against the land mafia in Munnar and surrounding areas.india Updated: Jul 05, 2017 22:05 IST
The Kerala government on Wednesday transferred Devikulam sub collector Sreeram Venkitaraman, who took on the land mafia head on, as the director of the employment exchange.
Though the government claimed it was a promotion, many see his sudden transfer as a consequence of his strong posture against thriving land mafia in the tourist destination Munnar and surrounding areas of Idukki district.
Last week, an all-party delegation from Idukki had met chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan insisting his immediate transfer.
State revenue minister E Chandrasekharan, who supported the gusty officer in his anti-encroachment drive, has termed the transfer a routine affair.
But CPI’s Idukki district secretary Sivaraman criticised the move, saying it will send a wrong signal and encourage the land mafia. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala also decried his transfer.
The move comes in the wake of the Kerala High Court direction upholding Venkitaraman’s decision to evict a home-stay in Munnar.
Venkitaraman has ruffled many feathers since he started evicting large-scale encroachments in Munnar. He was bullied and threatened on several occasions but he went ahead with his eviction drive, winning many hearts.
The ruling CPI(M) had organised a week-long protest outside his office a couple of months back and the controversial minister hailing from Idukki, M M Mani, had said the officer should be sent to a lunatic asylum.
While hearing a plea last year, the Kerala High Court had dubbed encroachments in Munnar as “rape of mother nature” and directed the government that not allow any construction without the issuance of NOC from the revenue department.
Despite many strictures and stringent policies, encroachments continued unabated in Munnar.
But Venkitaraman, a practising medical doctor who bagged second rank in 2013 civil services examination, made a big difference. In the last six months, he issued closure notices to 108 multi-storied buildings and closed a dozen illegal quarries.