New Delhi: A Ajithkumar, secretary to the Kerala Governor, has been named as the new chair of the Rubber Board. The 1994 IAS Cadre currently also holds the responsibility of Commissioner of the Guruvayoor Devaswom.
The top post at the board had been remaining vacant for close to 1.5 years now even after the state had made repeated requests to the central government to name a permanent officer to the position. Political parties too had made the demand.
Ajithkumar is to remain in office until he retires from service on May 31, 2018. After Sheela Thomas vacated the post on September 5, 2014, the position was being managed by an interim appointment. Meanwhile there were rumours that the Rubber Board was to be moved to North Eastern states because the industry had become saturated in Kerala.
Until June 1, 2014, Ajithkumar was Collector of Kottayam and he has received accolades as a model collector. He has also served as secretary in the departments of Education, Housing, Cooperatives and had been secretary to former central minister Vayalar Ravi.
Speaking to Manorama, Ajithkumar said that he would transform the Rubber Board into an organisation that offers support to farmers. His appointment is significant because he has been closely associated with the issues of Rubber farmers and the appointment comes at a time when rubber cultivation is facing a crisis in the state. He claimed that he has in-depth knowledge about the relation between the state's economics and the role of the rubber farmer.
The new chair is to take charge next week.