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Thursday, Mar 22, 2007
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KOZHIKODE: The delay in posting a District Collector in Kozhikode has raised many eyebrows. For the past four months the Additional District Magistrate (ADM) is handling the day-to-day affairs of the district administration in the absence of a District Collector, after A. Jayathilak was removed from the post as ordered by the Election Commission.
Official sources told The Hindu here on Wednesday several important decisions had been kept in abeyance for want of a Collector. The Collector, who is also the District Magistrate, heads over 100 panels, including the Communal Harmony Committee and Regional Transport Authority. Decisions on several files pertaining to vital matters have been deferred.
The long absence of a full-time Collector is also indirectly affecting the programmes in the neighbouring districts since Kozhikode is considered to be headquarters of many Government departments in north Kerala.
Sources said that Kozhikode very much needed a Collector during the fag end of the financial year to sort out a number of problems relating to revenue recovery procedures. The district has huge arrears in revenue recovery.
ADM P. Balan, who has been officiating as Collector, said in spite of heavy workload he had been able to manage the Collectorate. No important decision had been delayed. Even the job of the ADM, which he handles, was a demanding one, said Mr. Balan who will retire in May 2007. Mr. Jayathilak, who was appointed Kozhikode Collector on August 1, 2006, was removed from the post on the orders of the Election Commission during the run-up to the Thiruvambady Assembly by-poll. Kollam Collector B. Srinivas replaced him, 10 days before the polls on December 4.
Although the Thiruvambady poll process was completed on December 10 the Election Commission was again virtually in control of the district since the electorate list was being revised. The revision of voter's list would now be completed in April, officials said.
In February, the Election Commission asked the Government to file a charge sheet against the Mr. Jayathilak for his alleged lapses during the Thiruvambady Assembly by-election. The direction came on the basis of the petition submitted by the Central Election Observer Sutirtha Bhattacharya that Mr. Jayathilak had violated the all India service rules.
In a petition to the Election Commission, the Election Observer also accused Mr. Jayathilak of laxity in coordinating functioning of various Government departments, violating poll rules, making adverse comments against the Election Observer through the media and not ensuring proper security for the independent candidate. At that time Mr. Jayathilak was also busy making preparation for the conduct of the month-long Malabar Shopping Festival.
As per the order of the Election Commission Mr. Jayathilak was asked not to enter the district. But the Government appointed him in the Department of Industries as well as gave him additional charges to conduct the Malabar Shopping Festival and the annual edition of the Malabar Maholsav. But he was coordinating activities from Malappuram district.
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