In a controversial move, the Lakshadweep administration on Friday ordered shifting of officials in the Education department in Kochi to the islands.
In its order, the Directorate of Education of Lakshadweep administration also directed its Education Officer, Kochi to shift all the office materials like electronic equipment, furniture and files dealt by five of its staff here to the Education Directorate in the islands.
The Lakshadweep administration has an office in Kochi in which several departments are functioning.
Crying foul, Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal P P said the administration’s decision will adversely affect around 4,000 students from the islands who are pursuing higher education at various educational institutions in Kerala. He said the decision will be challenged in the court.
According to the order, the officials including an accountant, a stenographer, two clerical staff and a MSE are being shifted “consequent upon the decision to rationalise the staff of the Education Office, Kochi”, the order said.
The Education Officer, Kochi has been directed to relieve the officials with the direction to report before Director of Education Rakesh Singhal Danics in seven days.
Talking to P T I, Faizal said the administration’s Education Office has been functioning at its Kochi office for the past three decades and it was set for the easy access for the needs of students studying in educational institutions in the mainland.
This includes their scholarships, mess fee, hostel fees and tuition fees.
“With the new decision, the students studying in Thiruvananthapuram or other parts of India now need to travel to Lakshadweep to solve their problems. Otherwise, they would only need to travel to Kochi to meet their education and resolve their issues and go back,” he said.
The Lok Sabha MP said this was an “unwanted action” from the side of administration which will disturb the students studying in Kerala and other parts of the country.
Faizal alleged that island administrator Praful Khoda Patel took the “unilateral” decision without any discussion with representatives of the people in the islands or the standing committee on education of the Lakshadweep district panchayat.
Lakshadweep has been witnessing a series of protests by residents for the past few weeks against Administrator Praful Khoda Patel’s decision to implement reform measures in the islands.
The Save Lakshadweep Forum (SLF), a platform of protesters, has alleged that the measures were being implemented without taking people of the islands into confidence.
Accusing the administration of going ahead with the “anti-people reform measures” in the islands, the SLF has said they would continue their protest till the administration withdraws such measures in the archipelago.
On Monday, residents of Lakshadweep had staged “coconut leaves and palm” protests across inhabited islands against the administration’s order to levy a fine if coconut palm leaves, shells or trunks were found in and around their dwelling places.