Kasaragod: After triggering a controversy by withdrawing an order on COVID restrictions in the district, the collector of Kasaragod has gone on leave.
Bhandari Swagat Ranveerchand, the district collector of Kasaragod, has availed of leave until February 1 citing personal reasons. The Additional District Magistrate has been given the charge.
The collector had issued an order restricting public events in the district in the wake of the COVID-19 spread. However, the order was revoked, reportedly, within two hours.
Opposition parties had claimed that the collector was pressurised to change her mind by the CPM that heads the ruling LDF in the state. It was alleged that the order was revoked to facilitate the CPM's district conference that was inaugurated on Friday morning.
The developments had led to a PIL being filed in the High Court of Kerala that prompted an interim order prohibiting events with the participation of more than 50 persons.
In the wake of the court order, the CPM was forced to cut short its three-day conference and wrap it up on Friday evening.
Collector issues a bold statement
Soon after the controversy erupted, Ranveerchand took to her official Facebook handle to pen a response.
The post (sic): "There have been media reports that I was pressurized to cancel my order. That's not correct. We issued order based on state government guidelines and cancelled it based on new guidelines issued. Personally, I think it's a very good decision taken by the government to change TPR based restrictions to hospitalization based restrictions. Restrictions be imposed only if hospitalizations increase. Why burden the poor by restricting normal life if it's not needed? It's not salaried people like me who are affected by lockdown. It's the rickshaw drivers who committed suicide in last lockdown.
Though tpr is high, the number of tests conducted as per ICMR guidelines, are low. If we look at total number of cases and total number of admissions of severe categories of patients, it's not as high to deserve a complete ban."