Thiruvananthapuram: The order of suspension of Kerala’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Bennychen P. Thomas, which came out on Thursday, has led to his colleagues in the Indian Forest Service rally behind him and they are planning to approach Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to express their displeasure, sources said.
Thomas, according to his colleagues, feels that he was being made a scapegoat after the fiasco arising after state Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran first froze the Forest Department’s order to fell trees, on Tamil Nadu’s request, to strengthen the baby dam near the ageing Mullaperiyar dam and then cancelled it on Wednesday.
The state cabinet then decided to suspend Thomas.
A delegation of IFS officials is likely to call on Vijayan to express their feelings on the decision to suspend their top colleague.
Meanwhile, ruling Left Democratic Front convenor A. Vijayaraghavan defended the decision to suspend Thomas.
“In Kerala, we have a very strong government where anyone who does things against the wishes of the government will have to pay the price. The suspension order clearly means that the official did not do what the government wanted,” he said.
Saseendran early this week said that that the political leadership and the state government had no role in the decision to allow Tamil Nadu to fell trees and they came to know of the order only after it came out.
The Congress led opposition has asked for a judicial probe into the order fiasco as they allege that everything was done with the full blessings of Vijayan, who is yet to speak a word on this issue, despite numerous attempts by the opposition to draw him out in the Assembly session which ended on Thursday.