N Prashanth (Photo source: Twiiter)
Thiruvananthapuram: The transfer the popular Kozhikode district collector has sparked controversy with social media buzzing with conspiracy theories and criticism about the government’s move.
N Prashanth, popularly known as “Collector Bro” will be replaced by present tourism director U V Jose as the new collector.
Prashanth in a statement tried to quell the speculation and said the transfer was routine as he had completed two years.
He is quite active in the social media and became popular in Kerala's Kozikode when brought out several initiatives under the name 'compassionate Kozhikode'.
“I joined as Kozhikode collector in February 2015. This is a routine transfer that I have been expecting as I have completed two years,” he said in a statement posted on social media.
“I don’t find anything unnatural in this. Many have put up posts saying that there is conspiracy behind the move and they have also criticized the government move. This is not correct bros. Life has to move on!” he added.
Sources said that the collector was on leave for two weeks on health reason and requires some more days of rest which is why an immediate transfer has happened as the district cannot be headless for a long time.
But the move generated controversy as he had a spat with Kozhikode MP M K Raghavan about a year back. The MP had alleged that the collector is deliberately hampering development schemes by delaying the release of funds and ordering a review of the completed projects. He was irritated with a delay in approval of funds for a road project under his local area development scheme. The Congress had also demanded an apology from the collector.
Prashanth in response had taken to social media and posted a map of Kunnukulam in Thrissur district. It was pun as the word map means apology in Malyalam and there is famous comic scene of one of the Malayalam movies related to Kunnunkulam and map.
The post caused controversy and the he had to issue an apology.
Recently when the IAS officers had decided to take one day mass leave and protest against vigilance director Jacob Thomas, there were reports that Prashanth did not agree with the move and conveyed it to his higher authorities.
Compassionate Kozhikode is a social initiative by Prashanth which won laurels locally and on Facebook. The initiative aimed to generate and nurture the spirit of compassion in individuals. One of the first initiatives was when he saw the condition of the mental health hospital in Kuthiravattom Kozhikode. Through his FB page he has asked people to help and mobilize the community and led to the renovation of the mental health centre.
Other popular initiatives by the collector include offering a plate of Kozhikode Biryani in exchange for volunteering to clean a pond.
Operation “Sulaimani” was his flagship project which was launched in association with the hotels and restaurants in the city aimed at providing food for the hungry. The aim was to make the city hunger free. Some of his other initiatives are Legends of Kozhikode, a documentation of hidden stories and anecdotes. In the International Tourismus-Borse, Germany, Compassionate Kozhikode was chosen as one of the inspirational global projects.
His interactions in social media made him popular. A movie buff, his posts and comments often have film dialogues. When followers went overboard with their comments, he woud say “Nadesh Kollenda” (Nadesh, don’t kill) - a dialogue from the movie Ravanaprabhu. When students asked him if he has declared a holiday for schools due to rains, his reply was " Go to your classes", a movie dialogue from a Mohanlal film.