EucalyptusThe new special officer of Munnar Mission (for eviction of encroachers and demolition of unauthorised constructions) K. M. Ramanandan is a wise man. Unlike his predecessor Suresh Kumar, he has not taken on the mighty. Instead, he has chosen the path of least resistance.

Suresh Kumar jumped into the fray on the very day of his posting to Munnar (Kerala, India). Ramanandan waited for several days before making his first move.

The land he identified for eviction was substantial in extent (nearly 700 acres) so that the Revenue Minister K. P. Rajendran could add a decent figure to his compilation of resumed lands. The advantage in resuming the land was that the encroachers were nowhere to be found. Apparently some people were planting and harvesting eucalyptus on the land in the Vattavada panchayat of Idukki district. But the official machinery had no clue of who was doing it! The seedlings would probably have come from the Forest Department as they only have large nurseries of eucalyptus.

So, it was a task cut easy for Ramanandan. There would be no court cases to fight. No political pressures to bear either. For the men behind the encroachments had deserted the area long before Ramanandan landed there. May be they did not have the kind of influence that saved many resorts in Munnar.