Idukki: A CPI(M) legislator has courted controversy for publicly insulting a young woman IAS officer, saying she "lacked brains," after the official tried to stop an 'unauthorised' construction of a shopping complex at Munnar hill station.
The incident, which occurred on Friday, came to light when some television channels aired visuals of Devikulam MLA S Rajendran purportedly making disparaging comments that sub collector Dr Renu Raj "lacked brains" and has no powers to intervene in the construction as building rules come under the purview of panchayats.
"This is the first time the government is asking for an NOC from government itself. Panchayat has to look at building the rules, not at what she is saying. She doesn't have brains... she studied only to become a collector.. such people will have only so much brains. Should she not study the sketch, plans? A collector cannot intervene in a panchayat construction. This is a democratic country and we as elected representatives should be heard," Rajendran is heard saying to a group of people.
Raj, who was appointed as the Devikulam sub-collector in November last year, said a memo had been issued to the panchayat on February 6 to stop the illegal construction. But the work was still going on, she said. "I felt demoralised initially because I was just doing my duty. But I have received support from my seniors, politicians, public and the media. I will continue to do my duty," she told News18.
Coming out in her support, Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan, said, "Understand that the action taken by the sub collector is right and as per law. When she is taking action as per rules, we need to support her".
The Kerala High court had in a 2010 verdict said for any new construction in Munnar, a 'No Objection' certificate has to be obtained.
The four-storey building, built at an estimated cost of Rs 1 crore, did not have any permission from authorities, Raj said.
The officer further said she had already informed chief secretary Tom Jose, Revenue Principal Secretary and the District collector and as per their direction had prepared a written report, which would be forwarded to them along with her complaint.