The CPI(M)-led LDF government that assumed office in May has effected a major reshuffle of senior IAS officers and district collectors in the state. The Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday decided to transfer the collectors of all districts except Palakkad and Kozhikode. A look at how some of the IAS officers fared during their tenure as district collectors and at other important posts.
'I like transparency. To ensure this, the easiest way is to provide information at your fingertips."
This is what Kannur district collector P Balakiran said when he released a special application for Kannur for the Panchayat, Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Balakiran showed the mindset of a software engineer in all his initiatives. He had served as a software engineer at the Defence Research and Development Organization of Inida (DRDO) before joining civil service. After serving as Kannur district collector for two years, Balakiran will now serve as Director of IT Mission.
Kannur district had a curse that the collector and SP, who takes charge in the district, will not leave the post without receiving brickbats. This trend was changed by Rathan Kelkar when he assumed charge as Kannur district collector. He had won the award for the best collector. After Rathan, it was Balakiran who served continuously for two years as Kannur district collector. He also a recipient of best collector award.
Balakiran introduced several novel projects in the district. It was Balakiran who first introduced the concept of eco-friendly elections in the state. The Chief Election Commissioner honoured him with a special award for this initiative. He also received a national award for conducting the national games in Kannur in an eco-friendly way and without pollution.
Balakiran could create 600 acres of mangrove forests in the state. Ramps were installed in 2810 offices of Kannur district to turn the district into a disabled-friendly district.
The people of Ernakulam district have included the name of Rajamanickam, who steps down as Ernakulam district collector, in the list of dynamic collectors who served the district in the past. Rajamanickam won a place in the minds of people not only by initiating development projects and solving the problems of people, but also through adopting novel ways to solve the problems related to education, shelter and health of the less fortunate people in the district.
The 'Ente Kulam Ernakulam' project to modernize the ponds and lakes in Ernakulam district, 'Muthe Ponne' project for giving extracurricular training to poor students, 'Padikkam Padippikkam' (Pa-Pa) projects are examples of the Rajamanickam style of functioning. Instead of relying on government machinery alone, Rajamanickam cooperated with voluntary organization like Anbodu Kochi to implement projects which provided solace to thousands.
The government had given the additional charge of special officer at the Kochi Cancer Institute to Rajamanickam.
Rajamanickam took charge as the Ernakulam district collector in February 2014, when the Lok Sabha elections were approaching.
All political parties appreciated his efforts in ensuring the smooth conduct of elections. Rajamanickam also over saw the local body elections of 2015 and the recent Assembly elections as the district election officer.
Wayanad Collector Keshvendra Kumar, who knew the pulse of the district, is the new Director of National Health Mission. It was in February 2014, that Keshvendra Kumar took charge as the Wayanad district collector. Before that, he served as the state higher secondary director.
Keshvendra Kumar has shown deep interest to know the problems faced by the people of Wayanad.
When a natural disaster struck Uttarakhand and nearby states resulting in huge loss of lives and property, Keshvendra Kumar could bring in regulations in the construction of building activities in Wayanad, which is also an ecologically sensitive region. He issued this order in his capacity as the Chairman of the district disaster management authority.
This action generated discussions all over the state. All those who realised the importance of preserving nature offered their whole-hearted support to the Collector. Thus, the district administration could prevent the construction of huge buildings in the district to a certain extent. The 'Orma Maram' project envisioned by the Collector to reclaim the natural beauty of Wayanad received good appreciation.
Veena Madhavan is all set to take charge as Alappuzha district collector. For Veena, this is her first appointment as a district collector. She will take over the reins of the district from R Girija, who has been appointed as Pathanamthitta district collector. Veena is the 47th collector of the district.
Veena, who is currently serving as Joint Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, is an IAS officer of the 2010 batch. Veena's first appointment was in 2011 as Kannur assistant collector. Following this, she was appointed as Mananthavady sub collector. Though Veena was born in Kollam, she was educated in Thiruvananthapuram. She finished her SSLC from Holy Angels school and pre-degree and degree from the Government Womens' College. She completed her MA from Institute of English of Kerala University and took M. Phil from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. She passed the Indian Information Service examination in 2009 and got the IAS selection in 2010.
Thrissur collector V Ratheesh has also been transferred as part of the mass transfer of district collectors. He has been appointed as the panchayat director.
A Kowsigan, who had served as Thrissur district collector earlier for a short span of four months, has been appointed as the collector of Thrissur again.
Kowsigan is assuming the new post after serving as Idukki district collector. He had served earlier as Thrissur district collector from September 9, 2015 to January 9, 2016.
He will become the 42nd district collector of Thrissur in his second innings. Kowsigan, a native of Hosur in Tamil Nadu, is an IAS officer of the 2010 batch.
Before joining civil services, Kowsigan served as the assistant veterinary surgeon in the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services department of Tamil Nadu government and also as an assistant professor at the Veterinary University in Chennai.
When Kollam district collector Shainamol came to know that she has been appointed as Malappuram district collector, she was in the middle of hectic work, including the work related to the Independence day celebrations. In the midst of this, teacher Kureepuzha Francis visited her with the patriotic song to be sung at the Independence day function and the Collector gladly set apart time from her busy schedule to hear the song.
Shainamol is being transferred after a service of 11 months. During her tenure as Kollam collector, she oversaw two public elections, drought, flood, bomb explosion at Collectorate and the Puttingal fireworks tragedy. As Kollam district collector, Shinamol faced the adversities and challenges without fear. She was the 44th collector of Kollam. A Himachal Pradesh-cadre IAS officer of 2007 batch, Shinamol is a native of Aluva.
She was in the news for the strong stand taken in connection with the Puttingal fireworks tragedy. The collector, who did not give into the pressure, denied permission to conduct the fireworks. She stood firm on her stand after the mishap also. She did not hesitate in speaking about lapses on the part of the police, who did not obey her orders. At the same time, she carried out relief activities and rescue efforts after the tragedy. She initiated action to provide financial help to the victims of the tragedy and for constructing houses that were destroyed due to the incident.
A photo of the collector hugging Meenakshi, the daughter of Lance Naik Sudeesh, who died in Siachen, at his house in Munroe Island, went viral on social media.
The 'Ente Kollam' project formulated by Shinamol received much appreciation. The project was started to ascertain the accident spots in the district and to take measures to reduce accidents.
The district administration in Kakkanad will have a techie as its head from now on. K Mohammed Y Safirulla, who has worked in the IT sector for five years before joining civil services, is assuming charge as the district collector of Ernakulam.
Safirulla had worked as software engineer at Tata Consultancy Services for two years. He also worked as a consultant at IBM for two years. After serving as assitant collector and sub-collector, he was appointed as Director of IT mission.
Safirulla had said that his background in the IT sector helped him in the work at IT mission.
He led several projects including e-office, e-district, Akshaya, Aadhaar and mobile governance.
Safirulla, who is an IAS officer of the 2010 batch, is a native of Salem. He was the assistant collector of Palakkad for one year during his training period. Later, he served as Idukki sub-collector for one-and- a-half years.
For the past two years, he has been working as the Director of IT mission. He also held the post of IT deputy secretary and e-health Kerala project director.