The row between Revenue Minister E.Chandrasekharan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over action against land encroachments which snowballed into a cold war between CPIM which heads the ruling LDF and the second largest ruling partner CPI assumed a fresh dimension on Friday with the Revenue Minister coming out in the open against the Revenue Secretary of the state government.
Revenue Minister E.Chandrasekharan, the CPI nominee in Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet said that opinions expressed by Revenue Secretary P.H.Kurien need not be taken for their face value.
This is not the first time that the Revenue Minister and the Revenue Secretary crosses swords. There have been reports that Kurien, bureaucrat close to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had been planted by the CPM Chief Minister with the ulterior motive of keeping a check on the Revenue Minister in the administration of the revenue department.
the Revenue Minister under whose directive the revenue officers had cancelled the title deeds of CPM leader Joyce George MP and his relatives for Kottakamboor land, a three member ministerial committee was constituted on Thursday by the Chief Minister to settle disputes relating to encroachments in Munnar. The committee consisted of Revenue Minister E.Chandrasekharan, Forest Minister K.Raju, both from CPI and Electricity Minister M.M.Mani of CPIM. Mani, the former Idukki district secretary of CPM has been allegedly shielding encroachers in the district, especially in and around Munnar. The setting up of the committee of ministers with Mani as a member was therefore viewed as the Chief Minister's veiled move to protect encroachers.
The Revenue (Additional) Principal Secretary P.H.Kurien had told the meeting convened by the government on Thursday that the extent of the proposed Neelakkurinji garden in Idukki would be restricted. Contradicting the Revenue Secretary's statement at Thursday meeting, the Revenue Minister, on Friday said that Kurien's was his personal opinion and not of the government.
The government had no prejudice in the matter, he said and added that the Revenue Secretary's remark was unwarranted.
CPIM MP Joyce George is alleged to have encroached land earmarked for Kurinji garden. Kurien's remark about the extent of the proposed garden is being interpreted as part of the design to exonerate the CPIM MP.