Munnar: The hill town of Kerala is once again in the news, this time over a spat between S. Rajendran, MLA, and the Devikulam sub-collector Renu Raj, IAS. The CPM legislator admonished the IAS officer in public and was heard saying she ‘lacked brain.’ Veteran CPM leader V S Achuthanandan also joined the issue and lashed out against his party legislator, representing Devikulam constituency in Idukki district, regarding his standoff with the bureaucrat. As the MLA’s words went viral, the CPM was forced to make a public statement that it would seek explanation from Rajendran.
Renu Raj invited the MLA’s wrath as she issued a stop-memo to the construction of the Munnar Panchayath Shopping Complex near Muthirappuzha River without proper permission.
How they reacted
S Rajendran, MLA
Why did you oppose the sub-collector?
She addressed me as ‘MLA’ and spoke in a commanding tone, and broke the protocol. She also told me to mind my own business. She disconnected the phone without completing the conversation. I have not heard of any requirement of NOC (no objection certificate) for a government project so far. I had intervened in the issue so as to avoid further controversies in Munnar regarding the permission letters.
Will you apologise to Renu Raj?
I have already expressed my regrets on this issue. The regrets were issued on realising the impropriety. Are not 'regret' and 'apology' the same?
What if the party takes action against you?
I’m a part of the party. And it’s very important for me that my words or actions should never cause any blemish to the party. In case the party takes action against me, I’d obey that.
Devikulam sub-collector Dr Renu Raj
What’s the next step towards the encroachers in Munnar?
The law will be implemented in Munnar, no doubt about that. Encroachment upon government land can never be entertained. Taking strong action against encroachers will continue. There is no compromise on that. Legal steps will be taken against those who had encroached land previously.
Are you facing any threats at work?
I’ve never faced any threats at work so far. I always take everything in life positively. So, I’ve no tension at all. I’m enjoying my work as usual.
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