9 KMRL staff ‘sacked’ by collector

In response to a report in The Times of India, “9 KMRL staff ‘sacked’ by collector,” Mar. 2, 2016.

The report says, “Nine officials deployed by KMRL (Kochi Metro Rail Ltd.) were working at the land acquisition office in collectorate. Of late, they have been leaking information and even title deeds signed between private parties and revenue department for the project. They gave documents to outsiders, creating headache for authorities.”

The actions by the Ernakulam [2, 3, 4, 5] district collector, M G Rajamanickam, appears autocratic. The KMRL staff duty is to the public, and not avoid “creating headache for authorities.”

The land acquisition documents are public property because it relates to land to be used for public purposes. They may be kept confidential while negotiations regarding the acquisitions are in progress. But once final decisions are made, people have a right to know the details of the acquisitions made on their behalf.

In colonial times the collector may have been the final administrative decision maker for the district. We are now in the 21st century democratic India, and colonial norms do not apply. The land is acquired for use by the KMRL. So the KMRL staff is in a better position to make decisions about issues related to the land.

Even if there are disagreements, the democratic approach to resolving differences is through dialogue, discussions and negotiations — and not “my way or the highway” approach, which seems to be the district collector’s approach.

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Topics and issues related to Kerala economic development challenges.

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